Derek Nighbor: Int'l Day of Forests: A reason for pride in Canada

Derek Nighbor: Int'l Day of Forests: A reason for pride in Canada

There is plenty of evidence that trees can actually improve mental health, reducing the stress and anxiety of urban life.

Adepoju told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Wednesday that planting of trees in cities would reduce air pollution.

More than half the world's population now lives in cities, and by 2050 nearly 70 percent of the world will be urbanized.

If we plant more trees around our society, especially in Metropolitan cities it will help us to stay away from pollution as it acts like an air purifier. One large tree can soak up 150 kg of carbon dioxide every year, as well as filtering airborne pollutants.

Urban trees are excellent air filters, removing harmful pollutants in the air and fine particulates. Subsequently, most of the central forest reserves in urban areas such as Kitubulu in Entebbe Municipality; Kajjansi in Kajjansi Municipality, Namanve in Kiira and Mukono Municipality and Mbarara in Mbarara Municipality, among others, have been destroyed and degraded through encroachment and other illegal activities. Acting as buffers, trees and shrubs can reduce city noise levels significantly - for humans this can be as much as 50 percent.

Also speaking, Dr Bridget Olawuyi, a Lecturer at the Federal College of Forestry (FCF), Ibadan, emphasised the need for urban forestry, saying this is the care and management of single trees and tree populations in urban setting for the objective of improving urban environment. Trees act as natural conditioners and reduce the temperature in no time during scorching heat.

All this makes sound economic sense, quite apart from improving the quality of life for the millions of people who live in cities. Additionally, forests protect watersheds and prevent flooding by storing excess water in their branches and soil.

Well-managed forests and trees in and around cities provide habitats, food and protection for many species of plants and animals thus helping to maintain and increase biodiversity. In many cities, urban and peri-urban trees serve as a source of fuelwood, food and medicines. For example, the Jamun trees alongside roads in Delhi yield 500 tonnes of fruit each year for sale and consumption. Yet when space is tight, trees don't necessarily have to be grown at ground level.

21 March has been celebrated worldwide as International Forests Day since it was first declared in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly.

This is common in a cases where land use and infrastructure plans do not proactively integrate urban forests and green belts as part of the developments, but also weak enforcement of forestry policies and laws as well as poor governance in the forestry sub-sector.

China has made afforestation as one of its most important environmental projects. Let's make sure that trees are included in the game plan.

Starting in 2013, China has held celebrations every year, inviting organizations including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environment Programme and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to take part.

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