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Belize commemorates International Forests Day

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Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021. 9:52 am CST.

By Zoila Palma: Belize joined the world in commemorating International Forests Day on March 21.

In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21st as International Day of Forests with the objective to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests.

The day was celebrated under the theme “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”. The theme is linked with the United Nations declaration of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.

It is also linked to a local and global response to restore the functionality of our ecosystems to benefit food production and security, soil restoration, water security, human well-being and resiliency, climate regulation and economic stability.

Forests provide health benefits such as fresh air, clean water, and spaces for recreation.

In developed countries, up to 25% of all medicinal drugs are plant-based; in developing countries, the contribution is as high as 80%.

“Belize has invested significantly in protecting its natural capital and boasts 61.75% of forest cover with a 1% deforestation rate. In addition, protected natural areas contribute over 20% to Belize’s GDP. Local communities have a direct link to forests for traditional medicine, cultural and spiritual practices and serve as stewards of forest resources,” a statement from the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management said.

Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Orlando Habet along with the Forest Department, is commemorating the day by reiterating the ministry’s commitment to towns and cities to continue creating urban green spaces.

Through the donation of seedlings, the councils will plant trees to beautify and improve aesthetics in urban spaces.

The public is reminded to undertake reforestation activities to increase ecological resilience and productivity.

Forest restoration is a key nature-based solution to rebuild and achieve a future that benefits everyone. Every tree counts!

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