Today is World Wildlife Day, which is celebrated every year to raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. This year is themed: “Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet”. This is to celebrate the livelihoods of communities that rely on forests, and the value of these ecosystems for both wildlife and all of humanity.
Did you know?
Forests and woodlands are key pillars of human livelihoods and well-being. They cover nearly a third (1/3) of the planet’s land surface.
More than half of all the world’s forest area is found amongst just five countries: Russia, Brazil, Canada, the Unites States, and China.
Forests are home to about 80 per cent of the planet’s terrestrial (land) animals and plants. Over 800 million people live in tropical forests and savannahs in developing countries.
Indigenous and rural communities have a particularly close relationship with these natural systems. They rely on them to meet their essential needs, from food and shelter to energy and medicines; but they also maintain a strong personal, cultural and spiritual relationship with these environments.
Indigenous peoples and local communities are also historic custodians of the planet’s most important reservoirs of biodiversity, including forests.
The ecosystem services and resources that forests and woodlands provide – from filtering and storing freshwater to ensuring the fertility of soils or to regulating the climate – are essential to the global economy and to people everywhere.
However, forests are now at the crossroads of the multiple crises now facing the planet: from climate change, to biodiversity loss and the social and economic impacts of the current global COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s World Wildlife Day theme is meant to shed light on the links between the state of our planet’s forests and woodlands and the preservation of the millions of livelihoods that depend directly on them, with a particular attention to the traditional knowledge of the communities that have managed forest ecosystems and its wildlife for centuries.