As we look forward to the International Day Of Forests, reports show that animals aren’t the only species threatened by extinction.

Wherever you are in the world, whatever you are doing, it’s unlikely that you won’t be near a tree. Whether you’re deep in the countryside or in the heart of the city, trees will have some form of influence on your day, if only to brighten your mood or add a little oxygen into the air.

This year, as every year, trees have their own appreciation day, a day in which people are encouraged to consider the role trees have on life, from sequestering carbon and purifying water to providing life-saving medicines and improving wellbeing. Ever since 2012, the International Day Of Forests has fallen on March 21, and this year, the event has the theme of Forests and Innovation.

While forests may not initially appear to be a hotbed of innovation, there’s a huge amount of work going on to monitor their health and ensure their survival. New technology such as drones, sensors and other digital tools are helping to monitor deforestation, wildfires and illegal logging, while genetic engineering can increase the survival rates of new trees to enable quicker recovery from deforestation.

On the verge of extinction

Right now, forests need all the help they can get. According to the latest State of the World Trees report, between a third and half of the world’s wild tree species are threatened with extinction, posing a risk of wider ecosystem collapse. The report, undertaken by membership organisation Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), compiled extinction risk information on 58,497 tree species and took five years to complete.

The study found that the biggest threats to the world’s trees were agriculture, logging, livestock farming and commercial development, with Madagascar having the most threatened tree species  (1,842). In second place was Brazil with 1,788 threatened species, among them big-leaf mahogany, rosewood and eugenia, while in China, magnolia, camellia and maple were among the 890 species at risk.

“Trees are essential,” said Malin Rivers, Head of Conservation Prioritisation at BGCI and lead author of the report. “It’s like a Jenga tower. Pull the wrong one out and the ecosystem falls apart. When I look at these numbers, I feel we need to act now.”

Demonstrate your support

Two organisations that understand the importance of trees are Carbon Balanced Paper and World Land Trust. While Carbon Balanced Paper reduces the carbon emissions of a brand’s printed communications by having them balanced by raising funds for eco-diversity, World Land Trust uses those funds to protect threatened habitats around the world, preserving the vital biodiversity within them.

The International Day of Forests is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the world’s tree population and its vast impact on the health and wellbeing of the world.


To find out more about the BGCI report, go to

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