We connected and dependent on forests, yet many of us fail to realize this. This is a reason the United Nations recognizes March 21st as the International World’s Forest day to raise global awareness about the importance of forests.
The International Day of Forests is being celebrated under the theme “Forests and sustainable production and consumption”. The theme emphasizes the role forests must play in building a better, heathier and more equitable world as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Forests help to absorb carbon dioxide, provide us with important ecosystem services (e.g. water and oxygen), provides us with timber, medicine amongst many other products. They also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite the ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate. More than fifty million hectares of forests have been lost between 2015 and 2020.
Seychelles recognises the importance and roles of forests. For this reason past national campaigns were aimed at reforesting some of the most eroded and degraded areas. Government is also developing new policies and plans to guide the overall sustainable use of forests and their resources. With the financial support of international donors, Seychelles is engaging in several programmes to include forestry inventories and assessments, control and eradication of Alien Invasive Species, rehabilitation of native forests and Ecosystem Based Adaptation to ensure that forests are sustainably manage. A large proportion of our forests are already in protected areas.
Sustainable management is crucial if we are depending on forests for timber and non-timber resources, to combating climate change by absorbing and storing massive amounts of carbon dioxide and contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations. As we cut them down, oftentimes to make space for agriculture, they lose their ability to regulate the global climate.