The first day of spring is also International Day of Forests.

Earth’s verdant veil is home to millions of species, providing essential ecosystem services such as:

– regulating the climate
– purifying the air and water
– preventing soil erosion
– supporting human livelihoods.

Despite the importance of trees, they face deforestation, degradation, fragmentation, and wildfires – exacerbated by climate change, land-use change, and unsustainable consumption.

Between 1990 and 2020, the world lost 1.04 billion acres of forest.

Yet global forest area grew 5.6%, through deliberate efforts and naturally.

This net growth trend – which is good to hear – masks regional variations.

Deforestation has remained high in valued and dense tropical regions like Indonesia and the Amazon – that green broccoli chaos known as the lungs of the world.

Extend the time frame to the last 400 years, and an estimated 30-50% of original forest cover is lost, mostly settlement-related in North America and Europe, who’ve since been among those leading in reforestation.

It’s crucial that we continue to prioritize forest conservation and restoration efforts to protect these critical ecosystems and mitigate the impacts of climate change by growing net forest.

To do so we’ll need:

1. Data leverage to know the most valuable forest areas for biodiversity, and carbon sequestration, and to actively monitor the effectiveness of conservation measures.

2. Collaboration in governance and decision-making, involving all stakeholders including indigenous communities, to build trust and effective partnerships.

3. Mobilization of sustainable public/private finance, supporting with economic incentives including ecosystem services payments, green bonds, and credits for carbon or nature restoration.

4. Technology innovation to increase the effectiveness of verifying forest carbon stocks, detecting illegal activities, and improving transparency and accountability in forest governance.

“Forests are the original social network – everyone’s connected, but no one’s arguing about politics.”