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Let's Celebrate Our Forests

Let's Celebrate Our Forests

Friday 21st March is the International Day of Forests, a day for everyone to celebrate all the wonderful things that forests provide to our environment, our economy and our society.

Forests, of both native and introduced species and including conservation forests, commercial plantation forests and urban trees cover over 30% of New Zealand.

Forests play a significant role in erosion control, in mitigating flood events and in maintenance of water quality.

They are a very significant means of mitigating climate change. In 2011 New Zealand’s forests removed atmospheric carbon equivalent to 23% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

One of New Zealand’s biggest tourism draw cards is its scenery and landscapes. Forests are an integral part of those landscapes. Many people use forests for recreational purposes.

Forests are the home for much of New Zealand’s unique biodiversity and for many of our iconic species.

Commercial forestry is New Zealand’s 3rd biggest export earner (around $4.5 billion/year or 10% of merchandise export earnings), a large employer (over 18,000 New Zealanders are directly employed in the sector and many more indirectly) and contributes around 3% of gross domestic product.

Wood is an aesthetically pleasing building material capable of a wide range of applications and uses. Wood provides the paper for our daily papers, magazines, the packaging for many goods, including exported products, it heats many homes and it is now being used in biofuels, bioplastics and other environmentally friendly products. Wood products continue to store the carbon removed from the atmosphere while part of a growing tree.
“What other land use contributes so much to so many New Zealanders?” asks Dr Andrew McEwen, President of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry. “Forests are worth celebrating every day and particularly on the International Day of Forests.”

21st of March was declared the International Day of Forests by a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 21 December 2012. This global celebration of forests builds on the successes of the International Year of Forests in 2011, and provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.

ENDS

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