World Forest Day

World Forest Day

21 March 2013

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Russia — Recently, the UN General Assembly declared March 21 World Forest Day. One third of the land in the world is covered with forests. Trees enrich the atmosphere with oxygen, a substance without which life on Earth is impossible. Besides, without forests, the Earth’s fauna would not have been so various.

Today, more and more people realize the importance of protection of forests. Still, many people have not yet overcome the consumptive approach to nature’s resources. According to experts’ estimations, every second, more than 1.5 hectares of forest disappear from the face of the Earth – however, not always because of people’s activity. The global warming, bedsides other consequences, also decreases the Earth’s forests.

For Russia, which hosts one fifth of the world’s forests, this problem is especially acute. The sad experience of the very hot summer of 2010 showed Russians how disastrous the global warning may be. That summer, forest fires gripped large areas in 20 regions of Russia.

Russia’s authorities, of course, took drastic measures to put the fires out and to prevent similar catastrophes in the future. A number of changes were made in the country’s Forest Code.

“However, I believe that people should not shift all the care for the forests on the government,” the head of the Russian Forest Revival Foundation Vladimir Zakharov says.

“People should change their attitude towards their country’s natural riches,” he says. “They should feel their own responsibility for them. And, I should note that after 2010, Russians’ attitude to forests changed very much. Before that, there were practically no non-government forest-protection organizations in Russia. Now, there are a lot of them.”

“Spring, although it is a bit slow in Russia this year, will inevitably come,” Mr. Zakharov continues. “Spring is the time for planting new forests. I am sure that this year, many volunteers will come out to plant new trees.”

May 11 has been announced the All-Russian Forest Planting Trees. Last year, on this day, tens of thousands volunteers took part in planting trees all over Russia. It is expected that this year, the number of volunteers will be even bigger. It is also expected that by the end of this summer, the forest areas that suffered from the fires in 2010 will be totally restored in Russia.

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