March 21: International Day of Forests

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MARCH 21 was International Day of Forests, which was first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 “to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.”

Annually, countries are encouraged to “undertake local, national, and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.”

The theme for each International Day of Forests is chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, and this year’s theme was “Forests and Biodiversity.”

The Micronesia Conservation Trust or MCT launched #plantatreechallenge to “help protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of forests.” MCT encouraged the public to celebrate International Day of Forests by planting a native tree, taking a picture of it, then sharing it and tagging Micronesia Conservation Trust on Facebook.

MCT also noted the importance of “bringing back our trees,” and added that amidst this pandemic, “planting trees is not cancelled.”

In the days leading up to International Day of Forests, the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance or MINA promoted the challenge and announced that this inducement could “easily be done from the comfort of your own home.”

To encourage the public to participate in their challenge, MCT offered a number of forest and biodiversity facts:

• Forests cover 1/3 of the Earth’s land mass.

• Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for livelihood, protection, medicine, fuel, food, and shelter.

• Forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land.

• Forests are home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants, and insects.

• In Micronesia, 1,400 species of plants (200 endemic) and 85 species of birds (50% endemic) are found in forests.

MINA is a community-based, nonprofit organization that promotes and advocates for the protection and restoration of natural resources in the CNMI.

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