Today, March 21, is the day dedicated to forests. Forests are one of the planet’s key ecosystems, supporting the conditions for our lives – they provide oxygen, help recharge groundwater, which is the only source of water for rivers in dry months, purify the air, provide food and life-saving medicines, capture and store large amounts of carbon dioxide, thereby contributing to the reduction of climate change, are a source of various raw materials. This year the theme of the initiative is Forests and Innovation: New Solutions for a Better World.

The battle against deforestation requires new technological advancements. With 10 million hectares lost annually due to deforestation and approximately 70 million hectares affected by fires, these innovations are essential for early warning systems, sustainable commodity production, and empowering Indigenous Peoples through land mapping and climate finance access.

Additionally, ecosystem restoration, including reforestation efforts, can significantly contribute to climate mitigation and enhance food security while pushing the boundaries of sustainable wood products. and enhance food security while promoting sustainable wood products.

The loss of forests also means the loss of irreplaceable habitats for animal and plant life. Their restoration is a key objective of the projects “LIFE for Eagle’s Habitats” and “From Iron Curtain to Green Belt: restoring ecological networks in Southeast Bulgaria”.

The project “LIFE for Eagle’s Habitats” is implemented by the Executive Forest Agency in partnership with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, SouthEastern State Company – Sliven and NorthEastern State Comapny – Shumen. The long-term conservation of the Lesser Spotted Eagle in our country, through the protection and sustainable management of its habitats and the creation of new ones, is the focus of the project activities.

© Mihail Iliev

The project “From Iron Curtain to Green Belt: restoring ecological networks in Southeast Bulgaria” is financed under the Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP) and is implemented by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, Southeast State Forestry Company (SSFC), Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation (RRF), BirdLife Europe and Central Asia (BLECA). The project aims to demonstrate and pilot state-of-the-art restoration of xerothermic forests, grasslands, and riverine galleries to create a large network of viable ecosystems resilient to climate change and to secure the future of threatened species.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

The organizers are the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other relevant organizations in the field.