Today is a big day as we celebrate the International Day of Forests. I’m lucky to live very close to forests in British Columbia and I often run or mountain bike through them. And while the forests around my home are in good shape, many forests around the world are in trouble.
Which is bad news because we need forests for their free ecosystem services like oxygen; and we also need their help with global warming since they absorb carbon dioxide.
Just today, the Sunday New York Times published a story from Brazil where rainforest areas previously set aside for native tribes are being clear-cut anyway. The current president in Brazil is openly promoting the development of Amazonian rainforests. Which doesn’t make sense because nutrients in the rainforest are tied up in the vegetation; they don’t stay in the soils. Thus the need to eventually move on to other forest areas and the vicious cycle continues. Nobody seems to care that the Amazon is a huge lung of the world.
An even bigger lung of the world is the boreal forest which is burning at its southern edges and moving north. Ben Rawlence explores this in his excellent new book, “The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth“. Just be warned, it’s a sobering account of another forest under pressure. Don’t expect a fuzzy tree book like I did. This is a serious work and well-worth reading. After all, Canada has its own chapter in the book.
Even Santa will be pissed because when snow melts in reindeer country, it re-freezes and covers everything with ice. And reindeer aren’t used to travelling on ice; getting to food is also a nightmare when it’s under ice.
March 21 is a Monday but if you get a chance, get out into the forest. I am currently nursing a sprained knee so I will stick to blogging, making a donation to the Ancient Forest Alliance and reading about forests.
What are you doing today to celebrate International Forests Day?