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Preserving our forests to mitigate the impact of global warming – Mpumalanga News

On March 21, the world paused to observe the 10th anniversary of the International Day of Forests (IDF). South African Forestry Company Limited (Safcol), the country’s third largest state-owned forestry company, was part of activities lined up globally to celebrate this important day on the United Nations’ calendar.

Forests are the source of existence

Held under the theme “Forests and sustainable production and consumption”, the IDF is aimed at raising awareness about the significance of preserving our trees and to stop deforestation activities. The theme clearly shows that our existence is inextricably related to forests.

For instance, the water we drink, the medicines we take; the food we enjoy and the oxygen we breathe, are all associated with forests. There is sufficient scientific data that shows human activities are behind the current widespread destruction of vast swathes of forests across the globe. According to the Brazilian space research agency, deforestation in the Amazon region – the world’s largest tropical rainforest, also known for its biodiversity – increased by 22% in 2021.

Global warming

The observance of the IDF took place on the back of a report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year. The report painted a gloomy picture about the recent unprecedented catastrophes associated with global warming. According to the report, human practices contribute to the emissions of greenhouse gases, which account for approximately 1.1°C of global warming since 1850-1900.

Averaged over the next 20 years, the report noted, the global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming. Climate experts and observers attribute the rising temperatures and the recent series of natural disasters that hit several countries in Europe and the US in 2021, to widespread deforestation.

Biggest disasters

In 2021, National Geographic recorded “10 biggest national disasters” in different countries. Spain was hit by heavy snowfall and so was Texas in the US, which was buffeted by winter storm Uri. Cyclones Yaas and Tauktae swept through India, leaving behind them a trail of waste.

Canada was hit by record-breaking soaring temperatures while Turkey and Greece experienced devastating wildfires that destroyed several residential areas. It is for this reason that Safcol feels the IDF provides an ideal opportunity to mobilise every single individual, communities and other partners to contribute towards a secure and sustainable planet for posterity.

Why it is important to observe the International Day of Forests

• Forests are the lungs of the Earth

Forests are like giant, green sponges all over the globe, through which our Earth breathes. Trees and plants take in carbon dioxide and give us oxygen, cleaning our air.

• The world needs wood

This is not just for construction, paper, furniture, etc. As the world’s population grows, so is the hunger for energy. Currently wood accounts for approximately 45% of the world’s renewable energy supply.

Encouraging and modernising this industry can help find new and sustainable ways to produce bio-energy.

• Healthy forests mean a healthy environment

Forests trap carbon to prevent global warming. They stabilise the climate, control atmospheric temperatures, protect watershed areas, regulate the water cycle, and enrich the soil. And that’s not all that forests do for our environment!

Safcol’s activities on International Day of Forests

Safcol celebrated the day by:

1. Planting trees as a demonstrative symbol of their significance.
2. Wearing shirts with slogans that may draw the attention of people.
3. Visiting beautiful places where trees are in greater number to feel the fragrance, calmness and affection of forests.

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