International Day of Forests 2017: Forests & Energy

March 21, 2017

Here are a few interesting facts about forests to celebrate International Day of Forests 2017: Forests & Energy


1. Forested watersheds and wetlands supply 75 percent of the world's accessible freshwater via FAO

2. About one-third of the world's largest cities obtain a significant proportion of their drinking water directly from forested protected areas via FAO

3. Nearly 80 percent of the world's population ? 8 out of 10 people - is exposed to high levels of threat to water security

4. Improved water resource management can show considerable economic gains via FAO

5. Forests act as natural water filters via FAO

6. Climate change is altering forests role in water flows and the availability of water resources via FAO

7. Forests have a crucial role in building and strengthening resilience via FAO

8. The Boreal forest (aka Taiga) is the largest land habitat on the planet

It runs across northern USA and Canada, southern Iceland, across Norway, Finland, Sweden, through Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northern Japan. This region is one of the most threatened by climate change and has experienced some of the most dramatic temperature increases anywhere on Earth. Not to mention the threat from clearcutting for toilet paper, timber logging and, in Canada, tar sands oil extraction which now covers an area larger than England. (via

9. More species of plant and animal live in the rainforest than any other land habitat

The Indonesian rainforest alone is home to one fifth of all plant and animal life yet it is disappearing at a faster rate than at any other time. There are now fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild as their habitat is destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations. (via

10. Not all rainforests are tropical

The Great Bear rainforest in western Canada is home to the extremely rare Kermode "spirit" bear. A subspecies of black bears, their white coat is caused by a recessive gene, but it makes them expert fishers as they are harder to see. Whilst most of the Great Bear rainforest is protected, parts of it are still under threat from logging for timber. The sitka spruce that grows there is particularly prized for making guitars, violins and mandolins. (via

11. More than 25% of the medicines we use originate in rainforest plants

Yet only 1% of rainforest plants have been studied for medicinal properties. Every second an area of rainforest the size of a football pitch is cut down meaning every day we might lose a potential cure. (via

12. The forests are the lungs of our planet

They play a crucial role in stabilising global climate by converting CO2 into oxygen. As we pump more and more CO2 into the atmosphere the forest's ability to regulate the global climate is increasingly diminished. (via

13. Orangutans are the largest tree-dwelling mammal

Unlike most other primates, they spend more time in the trees than on the ground. Their tools use is incredibly advanced; they build tree nests to sleep in, use sticks to probe logs for honey and one was even observed trying to spear fish after observing locals doing the same. Their rainforest home is being cut down to make paper and to create space for palm oil plantations. (via

14. The tallest tree in the world is called Hyperion

It's a coast redwood from California that measures an incredible 115.61m tall. The largest tree in the world by volume is a giant sequoia called General Sherman which has a trunk 10m round and contains an estimated 1486 cubic metres of wood. (via

15. The world's oldest non-clonal tree is a recently-discovered and as yet unnamed Great Basin bristlecone pine tree from the White Mountains in California

It's still living at an incredible 5063 years old. Old Tjikko is the oldest single-clonal tree (meaning a new trunk is grown from original roots) at an astonishing 9,550 years old. But if you thought it ended there, then you've never heard of Pando? (via

16. Pando, also know as The Trembling Giant, is a colony of quaking aspen trees

Testing has shown this group of trees to be a single organism and is assumed to be connected by a single massive roots system. So here it is, the age: Pando is thought to be around 80,000 years old making it the oldest living organism on the planet (except the immortal jellyfish which technically never dies of old age). (via