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3/21 & #8211; International Forest Day


Forest of Lagoa Azul Municipal Park, São Desidério, Bahia, Brazil. Photo: © Aryanne Amaral / IEB


Today, March 21stcelebrates International Forest Day or World Forest Day. To underscore the importance of forests for maintaining life on earth and the need to conserve them, in 1971 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggested the creation of the “World Forest Day”. The commemoration of the date was set for March 21, due to the early spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Cerrado It is recognized for being a biome of savannah predominance, but within its mosaic of landscapes, we can find forest formations such as Gallery, Riparian, Dry or Seasonal Forest and Cerradão. Gallery and Riparian Woods are always associated with watercourses, such as rivers and streams, while Dry Woods and Cerradão occur in drained areas, ie, without association with water.

Forests in the Cerrado play an important role in protecting and conserving water resources, as well as in protecting flora and fauna species. Some studies indicate that the presence of these forests in the Cerrado is a reflection of the great climatic and geomorphological changes in the past, which led to the expansion and shrinkage of humid forests in South America, which today are equivalent to the Amazon and Atlantic Forests. Thus, forests in Central Brazil are considered refuges, as they contain species of the Atlantic and Amazonian flora in their floristic composition.

The Cerrado is under high pressure, showing deforestation rates at the Amazon level. According to data from the Ministry of the Environment, forest formations, which covered an area of over 175,000 km² in 2002, lost almost 20,000 km² (10,6%) in the period 2002-2010. The most impacted forest formations were seasonal, gallery and riparian forests, which together lost more than 16,000 km².

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) & #8211; CEPF Cerrado and the International Institute of Education of Brazil (IEB) have been working to contribute to reducing these deforestation rates and restoring areas in the Cerrado by supporting projects in different regions of the biome. This support provides incentives for expansion and creation of protected areas, protection of endangered species, support for restoration and environmental monitoring, among others. The goal is to promote conservation in high priority biological areas and on a landscape scale. From this perspective, CEPF identifies and supports a regional approach, involving a wide range of public and private institutions to address conservation needs through coordinated efforts. CEPF is a joint program of the French Agency for Development, International Conservation, the European Union, the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank, with a view to providing funding for the protection of unique and threatened ecosystems - also known as priority hotspots of biodiversity.