March 21st marks the International Day of the Forest, according to the United Nations. Forests play an essential role in the conservation of biodiversity as well as in the mitigation of climate change and are moreover the preferred habitat for a wide variety of species. It is therefore crucial that forests enjoy protection because healthy forests are the basis for a healthy planet.
The International Day of the Forest is complemented by Tree-planting days commemorated at the national level. Exact dates hence vary from country to country. PR China is the first country in the East Asia region to observe Tree-planting day on March 12, followed by DPR Korea on March 14, South Korea on April 5, Japan on April 29, and eventually Mongolia on May 15. On Tree-planting days, initiatives to plant trees are encouraged.
The Hanns Seidel Foundation has been conducting projects aimed at forest protection on the Korean peninsula for many years. Since 2008, HSF has been cooperating with DPR Korea on sustainable forestry and has carried out a program funded by the EU aimed at capacity building and reforestation between 2014 and 2017. Thanks to this project, trees were planted in strongly deforested areas, which has created a habitat for various bird species. HSF also works towards forest conservation in South Korea, most notably through cooperation on reforestation with Goseong county in Gangwon province, which started in 2005.
The protection of forests is a perpetual task that pursues the conservation of habitats for a wide variety of plant and animal species. However, climate change, natural disasters, and deforestation pose threats to sustainable forestry. It is therefore crucial to create awareness of the significance of forests and to cooperate towards their protection. The conservation of forests is moreover directly linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 – “Life on Land” as well as SDG 13 – “Climate Action”.
Those interested in forestry can attend the 2023 Gangwon Forestry Exhibition that will be held from September 22 until October 22 in Gangwon province, South Korea.