25 March 2015

A celebration of trees: March: Forests

Saturday 21 March was the 2015 International Day of Forests so this month I celebrate that conglomeration of trees and undergrowth we variously label a forest, jungle, woods or woodland or, in my native New Zealand, bush.

Delamere Forest
If anyone needs convincing as to why we need to stop deforestation and create more forests around the world, here are some of the reasons:

Royd Wood, Tabley
ü              Forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on our land masses.

ü              Forests provide a home to more than 80% of our terrestrial species of plants, insects and animals.

ü              Forests protect the watersheds that provide 75% of the world’s fresh water.

ü              Forests play a vital part in our adaptation to and prevention of global climate change.

ü              Forests provide shelter and jobs to forest-dependant communities.

ü              More than one billion people around the world depend on forests and trees for their food and income.

ü              Forests are the earth’s lungs, contributing to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air.

ü              Each year every person in the world eats about 11kg of food from forests (leaves, fruit, mushrooms, honey, etc).

ü              Forests and trees are the source of many medicines, treating illnesses like malaria, heart disease and cancer.

 As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, ‘To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world's forests. That will take political commitment at the highest levels, smart policies, effective law enforcement, innovative partnerships and funding.’  

Wood near Gravestones Farm, Pickmere

We are blessed with some lovely forests and woodlands near where I’m currently living, in the English county of Cheshire, so I am fortunate indeed to be able to walk regularly through these magical places. The Japanese have a term for walking in the woods that I particularly like – it’s shinrin yoku, which literally means ‘forest bathing’. I think the world would be a much better place if we all bathed regularly in forests.

Woodlands at Tatton Park, Knutsford
A new planting at Spud Wood, near Lymm

Woodland near Comberbach

Holford Moss, near Plumley
Arboretum at Marbury Country Park, near Northwich

Mill Wood, Arley

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