By: Matthew Perry, Forest Communications Advocate, Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut du Canada (CIF-IFC)
From September 19-25, 2021, Canadians from coast to coast are invited to recognize National Forest Week (NFW). This national campaign will bring organizations and Canadians from all different walks of life together to celebrate forests and our rich forest heritage, one of Canada’s most valuable and renewable resources.
This year’s theme is “Our Forests - Continually Giving”, which will highlight how Canada’s diverse forests are connected to our everyday lives. The impact of forests and forestry is far reaching. Our forests play a critical role in creating economic opportunities and supporting communities across Canada. In addition, trees and forests offer a variety of products, social and health benefits, provide critical ecological functions, and play an important cultural role for Indigenous communities.
None of these benefits, services or products would be achievable without biodiversity. This is why biodiversity is at the root of this year’s theme, and NFW is the perfect opportunity to highlight its importance and its many benefits.
As detailed by the Ontario Biodiversity Council: “Biodiversity is all around us – it’s the variety of life on Earth, from the tiniest insect to a vast northern forest. Biodiversity is also about being connected – no species, including people can live without others to provide it with food and habitat. All living things are part of this life system.”
Biodiversity is critical in sustaining Canada’s various ecosystems including forested areas. Simply put, healthy ecosystems build strong forests, and healthy forests build strong communities.
From the oxygen trees produce, to helping control floods and clean our water and air, providing building materials, and products we use every day, to supporting Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy, forests enrich our lives significantly.
According to National Resources Canada (2020), Canada is home to 347 million hectares of forest (38% of total land area), which accounts for 9% of the world’s forests. The importance of forested ecosystems cannot be understated, as two-thirds of all species in Canada are found within them (Natural Resources Canada, 2018).
Did you know that within one square metre of forest soil, over 1,000 invertebrate species can be found (Natural Resources Canada, 2018)? And over 300 bird species can be seen in our boreal forests alone (Natural Resources Canada, 2019)? That’s a lot of biodiversity!
Forests also have a role to play in mitigating the impacts of climate change, in particular its impact on biodiversity. Given the carbon sequestering capacities of trees and their ability to yield bioenergy, forests have and will continue to play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
By emphasizing these benefits, this year’s NFW theme further communicates the importance of sustainable and responsible forest management to ensure forests thrive in the midst of a changing climate and continue to support people throughout Canada. Every day, forest practitioners and professionals work hard to ensure our forests are sustainably managed, while protecting and conserving wildlife and their habitats.
The ways in which forests offer a variety of products, social, cultural, and health benefits, and provide critical ecological functions are highlighted in our NFW daily sub themes:
1. Sunday, September 19, 2021 – Forests and nature
2. Monday, September 20, 2021 – Forests and humans
3. Tuesday, September 21, 2021 – Challenges in a changing climate
4. Wednesday, September 22, 2021 – Building resilience through innovation
5. Thursday, September 23, 2021 – Forest champions and diversity
6. Friday, September 24, 2021 – Sustainable forests
7. Saturday, September 25, 2021 – Forest education and heritage
There are many ways that Canadians can participate in NFW including: following the daily sub- themes on CIF-IFC’s social media channels, organizing a tree plant, exploring a forest near their home, or by learning more about forests and sustainable forest management.
Visit the CIF-IFC website to learn about our 2021 sponsors or to download your free NFW promotional materials. Stay connected by using the #NationalForestWeek hashtag and share your stories, events, and photos with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us/follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn.
Formed in 1908, the CIF-IFC is the national voice of forest practitioners and many others with an interest in forestry and forests. The Institute strives to provide national leadership, promote competence, and foster public awareness of Canadian and international forestry/forest issues.
The State of Canada’s Forests. Annual Report 2020. 2020. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa. 88 p.
The State of Canada’s Forests. Annual Report 2019. 2020. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa. 80 p.
The State of Canada’s Forests. Annual Report 2018. 2018. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa. 80 p.
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