“A forest is more than a tree”, this was the main topic of the workshop on the relationship between human beings and forests throughout the world. This workshop, promoted by IFSA (International Forestry Students’ Association, was one of the many organized during the International Youth Conference on Climate Change (COY13), Bonn 2-4 November.
Forests cover over 4 billion hectares of the Earth’s land surface, an area as big as Asia. In order to protect the forests’ flora and to reduce the release of greenhouse gases, many countries have embraced the REDD+ approach which focuses on the efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Claire Duck, a current member of IFSA, told about the increase of fires in Australia due to long periods of drought and strong winds which favour their propagation. We also perceived that in the last few summers, many hectares of forests have been completely destroyed in different parts of the world. Fires have decimated the biodiversity of these places and the lives of the inhabitants have been put at risk.
Silvia Abruscato, another IFSA member, underlines the importance of awareness campaigns on forest protection especially addressed to young people. As the researcher points out, getting self informed is also crucial, as mass media do not often examine the topic in depth.
The two researchers explain the young audience that their association was created in 1973 to let young people give voice to their concerns about environmental issues such as forest protection (http://www.ifsa.net).
They conclude by informing us about a recent therapy to cure and prevent diseases using trees. It is the so-called silvotherapy, which tries to eliminate negative energy through the contact with nature. Breathing fresh air in a forest is considered a beneficial remedy, hugging a tree is good for the body and for the mind. These are some of the reasons why we should plant a tree: everybody can make the difference.