International Day of Forests – What is it and how can you help?

International Day of Forests 2021

International Day of Forests (also known as World Forestry Day) takes place on Sunday 21 March 2021.

Millions of people from around the world will join together (virtually) to celebrate and raise awareness of all different kinds of forests, while promoting this year’s theme: Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being.


The International Day of Forests is only nine years old and was established at the 2012 UN General Assembly. It’s facilitated by the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization. 

The day is marked by global celebrations, tree planting events and forest awareness campaigns. 

International Day of Forests 2021 – what are we celebrating?

This year is an especially important year because World Forestry Day is recognising forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being.

Between 2015 and 2020, the rate of deforestation was an estimated 10 million hectares per year – that’s 60% of the UK. Since 1990, the area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by more than 80 million hectares, leading to 20,334 tree species becoming threatened species. 

This is a significant problem because forests bring tremendous benefits to our planet, communities, surroundings and well-being. 

Climate action

Forests are one of the greatest solutions to climate change. Trees capture and absorb carbon dioxide emissions from the air – removing approximately one-third of CO2 released from burning fossil fuels. They also reduce our energy consumption by providing shelter from the heat and wind. 


Forests are home to most of the earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, supporting plants, fungi, vertebrate species and invertebrate species. Scientists estimate that forests provide habitats for 80% of amphibian species, 75% of bird species and more than 68% of different mammal species. 

Food, water and shelter

Forests provide communities with food, filtered water and shelter. Between 200 and 350 million people live in or adjacent to forested areas. They also protect land and people from extreme weather events – strengthening the soil and increasing forest coverage to prevent flooding, slow wildfires, and avoid desertification. 


Forests create a huge range of jobs from tree planters, farmers and foresters to rangers, conservationists, and photographers. Forests provide more than 86 million green jobs, alongside many additional livelihoods. 

Mental health

Scientific evidence shows that visiting forests can improve your mood, attention span, and psychological stress recovery.

Forests and UN Sustainable Development Goals

This year’s reforestation theme aligns with goals 

This year’s theme also aligns with goals 1, 12, 13 and 15 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Goal 1: No poverty – eliminating poverty. 
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production – ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • Goal 13: Climate action – taking action to combat climate change and its impacts on life and the planet.
  • Goal 15: Life on land – protecting ecosystems while combating desertification, land degradation and biodiversity loss

How can you get involved with International Day of Forests 2021?

1. Watch and share the World Forestry Day 2021 video

2. Download and share our social media pack images with the hashtag #IntlForestDay

3. Plant a tree for just £1

The biggest difference you can make is getting involved