Trees – they produce the vast majority of the oxygen we need to survive, they provide us with much-needed shade on hot days, and they’re just plain beautiful.

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees
Photograph courtesy of MostBeautifulThings
International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees
Photograph courtesy of MostBeautifulThings

For all of those reasons and many more, protecting the trees on our planet should be a real priority for all of us.

Background

Forests cover one-third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter.

Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.

Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

On 21 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly declared that 21 March of each year is to be observed as the International Day of Forests to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security.

On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

Every year, there is a theme for International Day of Forests chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. This year’s theme is Forests and Sustainable Cities.

Celebrating International Day of Forests in Fethiye

Nearly all the forests in Turkey are state-owned and administrated by the General Directorate of Forestry.

Fethiye is surrounded by forests and every year, 500,000 new trees are planted in forestry projects by the Fethiye General Directorate of Forests. Two activities were organised especially to celebrate International Day of Forests.

Keeping our forests clean

The first official event organised by Türkiye’yi Temiz Tut in partnership with the Fethiye General Directorate of Forests, was a clean up in the forests near the Muğla Üniversitesi İşletme Fakültesi in Esenköy.

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees
Muğla Üniversitesi İşletme Fakültesi in  Esenköy.

Have a look at our photo gallery from the clean up.

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees
What a great turn out from Fethiye, Dalyan, Fethiye General Directorate of Forests and Fethiye Department of Environmental Protection

Muğla Üniversitesi İşletme Fakültesi in Esenköy. from Lyn Ward on Vimeo.

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees
Team Türkiye’yi Temiz Tut – Kate and Şeref Topcu
International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees
Team Türkiye’yi Temiz Tut – Süleyman Akbay

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

 

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

We collected over 100 bags of rubbish and there’s still work to be done.

Planting trees for the planet

Then we were off to the second event of the day, a tree planting ceremony in Göcek. This was the official event of the day and was attended by Fethiye District Governor, Muzzafer Şahiner, Fethiye Forestry Operations Manager, Gürhan ZORLU, local schools and people.

Speeches came first and then 448 trees were planted as part of the reforestation project in the area.

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees
Fethiye Forestry Operations Manager, Gürhan ZORLU
International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees
Fethiye District Governor, Muzzafer Şahiner,

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

Tree Planting Ceremony – Göcek from Lyn Ward on Vimeo.

A great day and the view on the drive home wasn’t too bad either…

International Day of Forests - celebrating and protecting our trees

It doesn’t have to be the International Day of Forests to make a difference. If we all cared just a little bit, the planet would be a better place.

 Sources: United Nations/Days of the Year
 

 

 

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