This year, the United Nations International Day of Forests will be celebrated on Tuesday 21st March. Established in 2012, the day raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests around the world, highlighting their crucial role in health, biodiversity, climate change and wellbeing.

This year, the theme of International day of Forests will be ‘Forests and Health’.  Forests provide, directly or indirectly, important health benefits for all people.  Let’s take a look at some of these wonderful benefits:

Forests are natural pharmacies.

Around 50 000 plant species – many of which grow in forests – have medicinal value. Local communities use forest-derived medicines for a wide array of ailments and many common pharmaceutical medicines are derived from forest plants, including cancer-treating drugs from the Madagascar periwinkle and malaria medication quinine from cinchona trees.

Healthy forests protect us from diseases.

Forests have traditionally served as a natural barrier to disease transmission between animals and humans, but as deforestation continues, the risk of diseases spilling over from animals to people is rising.  More than 30 percent of new diseases reported since 1960 are attributed to land-use change, including deforestation.

Forests boost our mental and physical health.

Spending time in forests increases positive emotions and decreases stress, blood pressure, depression, fatigue, anxiety and tension. Trees in cities also absorb pollutant gases from traffic and industry and filter fine particulates such as dust, dirt and smoke, which help shield urban populations from respiratory diseases.

Forests play a central role in combating the biggest health threat facing humanity: climate change.

Healthy forests help keep global warming in check: forests contain 662 billion tonnes of carbon, which is more than half the global carbon stock in soils and vegetation. Forests and trees also help buffer exposure to heat and extreme weather events caused by climate change, which pose a major global health challenge. For example, trees properly placed around buildings cool the air and can cut air conditioning needs by up to 30 percent, also saving energy.

Forests are under threat and need our help. 

Ten million hectares – roughly the equivalent of 14 million football pitches – of forest were lost per year to deforestation between 2015 and 2020. Forest insects damage around 35 million hectares of forest annually. Fire affected approximately 98 million hectares of forest globally in 2015. Through forest-friendly policies and increased investment in forests and trees we can protect our planet and our health.

UK Greetings’ Carbon Balanced Paper partnership continues with World Land Trust

So, how are we supporting the International Day of Forests? UK Greetings has entered its third year of partnership with Carbon Balanced Paper and World Land Trust. Since 2021, this partnership has enabled UK Greetings to carbon balance 35,163 tonnes of CO2e, relating to the paper that has been used to make every single greeting card and envelope since that year.  Combined with the projected paper usage for 2023-24, this partnership is funding the preservation of 1,659.59 acres of threatened forests across Vietnam, Ecuador, Mexico and Guatemala.  Click here to learn more about these projects.

Chris Shaw, Head of Sustainability at UK Greetings, says, “At UK Greetings we believe that using sustainably sourced paper should be the minimum expectation, which is why we continue to partner with World Land Trust.  World Land Trust’s projects protect and restore threatened forests through land acquisition and conservation management, thus protecting the animals found within these areas.  In addition, UK Greetings have been increasing our use of recycled content paper and boards; we have been redesigning our cards with recyclability in mind, and investing in our UK manufacturing, which in turn reduces our carbon emissions.  We are thrilled to continue to support World Land Trust in their efforts to protect the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats.”

Fully recyclable gift wrap. International day of forests

UK Greetings are a greeting card supplier in the UK who have been proud to create products that help people connect, for more than 100 years. Read more About Us here.

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