The International Day for Biological Diversity takes place on Sunday 22nd May. Find out more about the day and how you can make a difference with ITF.
What is the International Day for Biological Diversity?
The United Nations proclaimed 22nd May as the International Day for Biological Diversity to promote a greater understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme of the 2011 International Day for Biological Diversity is forest biodiversity.
Forests contain some of our planet’s most vital ecosystems, displaying an amazing variety of birds, animals, and plants. Forests are the basis for more than 5,000 products, from aromatic oil distilled from leaves to herbal medicines, fuel, food, furniture and clothing; they prevent soil erosion and help to regulate the climate; they provide clean water; and they are essential to the survival and well-being of people everywhere – all 7 billion of us.
However the world’s forests are facing immense pressures and challenges. Despite all this knowledge and understanding of their value, we’re still destroying forest biodiversity at an alarming rate. The conversion of forests to agricultural land, overgrazing, unsustainable management are just a few of the ways we’re negatively impacting our forests. This makes forests more fragile and reduces the services provided by forests to humans.
People have come to realise that forests offer much more than just timber. Not only do they regulate local temperatures and protect drinking water supplies, they also act as carbon sinks and mitigate climate change. Forests also play important economic, social, and cultural roles in the lives of many people, especially those of indigenous communities. Traditional medicine is often based on natural products and plants found in forests. By destroying forests, we may be destroying an undiscovered cure for diseases.
A call to action
Urgent and decisive action is needed to conserve and maintain genes, species and ecosystems, with a view to the sustainable management and use of biological resources. We would like to see the consistent implementation of assessment, study and systematic observation and evaluation of biodiversity reinforced at national and international levels. International cooperation is required for protection of ecosystems which is why ITF works with organisations all over the world to help protect, rehabilitate and plant trees and educate people in the value of trees and the need to protect them.
This is where you come in…
Your participation and support is essential to the success of such an approach. Celebrate the UN International Day of Biological Diversity on Sunday May 22nd by getting involved with our work in the UK and around the world.