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Learn to love forests: Geneva encourages forest education to change the world for the better

Forests are life in its essence. Through education and training we can help safeguard these important and highly diverse ecosystems, providing clean air and water, while supplying food, wood and shelter.

Today, the global community celebrates the International Day of Forests (IDF) 2019 under the theme “Learn to Love Forests” with a range of activities in Geneva including a Forest Quiz, a Forest Handicraft Workshop and an exhibition on the innovative capabilities of forest products. 

“Both modern and traditional knowledge are key to keeping forests healthy. By investing in forestry education, we can make sure there are scientists, policy makers, foresters and local communities working at all levels to raise awareness for forests and their sustainable management”, emphasized Malgorzata Golińska, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment of Poland.

The exhibition underscores the importance of forestry education at all levels in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation. Healthy forests mean healthy, resilient communities and prosperous economies. Moreover, forest education is crucial to prevent the alienation between humans and the environment, sensitize society towards a more sustainable lifestyle and to integrate environmental issues into pedagogy.

“Understanding our forests and keeping them healthy is crucial for our future. Through knowledge exchange and capacity building we are providing the tools needed to learn more about forests”, underlined Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia.

“Forests have a vital role to play in some of the biggest challenges we face today, such as addressing climate change, eliminating hunger and keeping urban and rural communities sustainable. This is why we support Forest Education, helping to raise awareness of the need to manage forests sustainably”, highlighted Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE.

Did you know?

The tallest tree in the world is called Hyperion. It’s a coast redwood from California that measures an incredible 115.61m tall. The largest tree in the world by volume is a giant sequoia called General Sherman which has a trunk 10m round and contains an estimated 1486 cubic metres of wood.

Forest products can play an important role in replacing polluting and carbon intensive materials. For instance, certified wood-based fibers (Lyocell/Modal), used in textile production require, on average, 60 times less water compared to cotton and produce, on average, 15 times fewer carbon emissions compared to synthetic fibers.

Forests and water are interdependent. More than one third of our biggest cities, home to an estimated 238 million people, get a significant proportion of their high-quality drinking water from protected forests. These cities include New York, Bogota, Tokyo and Barcelona.

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