Forests for Our Future: Climate Connections

“Forests are on the front lines of climate change. These ecosystems, rich with biodiversity, are increasingly vulnerable to changes in weather, temperature and rainfall patterns. It is essential, therefore, that we work to preserve and sustainably manage our forests,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminds us in his message for this year’s International Day of Forests.

And though he cites a decline in the global deforestation rate, that doesn’t erase the 13 million hectares still being razed annually, headlines about which you are no doubt familiar.

But the theme this year is devoted to showcasing forest-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to sustainable development more broadly, which is why we decided to share with you some positive and hopeful Our World stories that do that very well! So, dig in and check out the great stories and beautiful videos in our Forests Forward feature below. And, if you can, find a forest to walk in and take some time to reflect on Mr. Ban’s closing thoughts:

“To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world’s forests. That will take political commitment at the highest levels, smart policies, effective law enforcement, innovative partnerships and funding. On this International Day of Forests, let us commit to reducing deforestation, sustaining healthy forests and creating a climate-resilient future for all.”

Forests Forward

The Tla-o-qui-aht People and Climate Change: Chapter 7

The Tla-o-qui-aht People and Climate Change - Chapter 7

Meares Island. Photo: Arnaud DG. Creative Commons BY-SA (cropped).

In this chapter, UNU’s Gleb Raygorodetsky gets a glimpse at the Tla-o-qui-aht people’s millennia-old relationship with the ancient trees of Meares Island Tribal Park.


Maya Nut Could Boost Resilience to Climate Change

Maya nut could boost resilience to climate change

Maya Nut Institute.

The Maya nut is one of the few tree species able to adapt to predicted climate changes in tropical forests.


Community Management Means Lower Deforestation

New research finds that community-based forest management results in lower rates of forest cover loss than do protected areas.


Sacred Groves Sustain Bio-cultural Richness in Yunnan Stone Forest

Sacred groves sustain bio-cultural richness in Yunnan forest

Photo by Xueli Chen

Sacred natural sites play a vital role in conservation.


Mountain Logging Roads Pave the Way for Yoshino Forestry

Mountain logging roads pave the way for Yoshino forestry

Jiro Akiba

Carefully built mountain logging roads may be key in preserving the historical Yoshino forestry region and reviving Japan’s timber industry.


South Indian Agricultural Model Mimics Fragile Ecosystem

South Indian agricultural model mimics fragile ecosystem

Photo: Ryo Murakami.

A decline in the traditional practice of home gardening by Wayanad’s tribal population can have far-reaching consequences.


Japan’s Charcoal Making Traditions Still Alive

Japan’s charcoal making traditions still alive

Photo: Ryo Murakami.

Charcoal-makers in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture revive traditional knowledge of skills associated with forest management.


How Things Work: Ecological Food Systems

The problem when it comes to food is that we don’t think of farms as ecosystems, and we don’t design them as such.


Greetings from Satoyama

Satoyama systems symbolise a pure integration of environmental, economic, cultural and social links between humans and nature. This is the story of two entrepreneurs who employ both traditional knowledge and scientific advancement to support the biological diversity of the woodlands and mountains upon which their livelihoods depend.


Forbidden Forest of the Dayak People

The Dayak Kenyah people live in the lungs of the world. Deep inside the lush rainforests of East Kalimantan, Indonesia, on the island of Borneo, they combine centuries-old indigenous knowledge with eco-tourism and carbon trading to fight deforestation.


Carol is a journalist with a green heart who believes that presenting information in a positive and accessible manner is essential to activating more people to join the search for equitable and sustainable solutions to global problems. A native of Montreal, Canada, she joined the UNU communications team in 2008 while living in Tokyo and, after relocating to Vancouver, continued to telecommute to Our World as writer/editor through 2015.