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International Day of Forests 2024: New solutions for a better world 

In a world precariously balanced on the brink of ecological shift, forests emerge as towering beacons of life, biodiversity, and essential climate stabilization. Recognizing the paramount importance of these ecosystems, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as the International Day of Forests in 2012. 

This day is dedicated to raising awareness about the significance of all types of forests, from the tropical rainforests of the Amazon to the boreal forests of Siberia. 

Why are forests so important?

“Forest trees and other plants soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it away as they grow and thrive. Forests contain more than 660 gigatons of carbon, 18 times the amount emitted each year by human activities,” wrote Amelia Meadows, WWF’s Director of Corporate Engagement for Forests.

“Forests are home to most of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and tropical rain forests are home to more species than any other terrestrial habitat. A single acre of rain forest may be home to thousands of species.”

“Forests provide a vast array of resources to all of us, including food, wood, medicine, fresh water, and the air we breathe. Without the trees, the ecosystem that supports the human population can fall apart.”

Forests and innovation

The theme for 2024, “Forests and innovation: New solutions for a better world,” underscores the critical role of technology in transforming how countries monitor their forests. 

Meadows noted that the threats to forests are dire and increasing, which is why WWF and partners are finding innovative ways to protect, restore, and conserve these ecosystems. 

“Technology is a huge part of that. It helps us get a better picture of species populations and migratory patterns with tools like drones, camera traps, and e-DNA. Tech like GIS mapping and remote-sensing technology are integral to modern forestland management and restoration monitoring and maintenance efforts,” wrote Meadows. 

Transparent forest monitoring 

Through innovative and transparent forest monitoring, a staggering 13.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide forest emission reductions or enhancements have been reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This represents a monumental step forward in our global efforts to combat climate change by preserving our forest resources.

However, the challenges facing our forests are immense. Each year, 10 million hectares of forest are lost to deforestation, and approximately 70 million hectares are affected by fires. These numbers not only signify a loss of trees but also a devastating impact on biodiversity, water cycles, and the livelihoods of millions of people globally. 

Technology is revolutionizing forest conservation

In this light, the necessity for technological innovation becomes even more apparent. Technology is revolutionizing forest conservation, making efforts more effective, data-driven, and inclusive, and thus contributing significantly to the global fight against deforestation and climate change. Here are some of the key technologies being used:

Remote sensing and satellite imagery

Satellites equipped with remote sensing technology provide comprehensive data on forest cover, deforestation rates, and changes in land use. This technology allows for the monitoring of vast and inaccessible areas, offering real-time data that is crucial for conservation planning and action.


Drones are increasingly used for detailed aerial surveys, mapping forested areas, monitoring wildlife, and assessing damage caused by natural disasters or illegal activities like logging and poaching. They can access difficult terrains and provide high-resolution images that help in the precise management and restoration of forests.

Geographic information systems 

GIS is a powerful tool for mapping and analyzing forest data, allowing conservationists to visualize and understand the spatial aspects of forests. It aids in decision-making by integrating various data types, including topography, vegetation types, and human impacts, thereby facilitating targeted conservation efforts.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms can process vast amounts of environmental data collected from satellites, drones, and ground-based sensors. They are used to predict deforestation trends, identify illegal logging activities, and model the impacts of climate change on forests, enabling proactive and informed conservation strategies.

Forest fire detection systems

Advanced sensors and satellite data are used to detect forest fires in real-time, enabling quick response to minimize damage. These systems can identify the precise location of fires, predict their spread based on weather and terrain data, and thus help in efficiently deploying firefighting resources.

Smart sensors 

Deployed throughout forests, smart sensors can monitor a wide range of environmental parameters, including temperature, humidity, soil moisture, and CO2 levels. This real-time data collection supports the health monitoring of forests and assists in the early detection of environmental stressors.

Mobile applications

Apps enable community involvement in forest conservation by allowing users to report illegal activities, participate in citizen science projects, and access educational resources about local ecosystems and biodiversity.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain is being explored for its potential to improve transparency and accountability in the supply chains of forest products. It can help verify the legality and sustainability of timber and other forest commodities, reducing the incidence of illegal logging and trade.

Technological innovations could empower Indigenous communities 

International Day of Forests brings to the forefront the indispensable role of Indigenous Peoples in conserving forest landscapes. Often referred to as the custodians of the world’s remaining intact forests, Indigenous communities possess traditional knowledge and practices that are invaluable for biodiversity conservation and carbon storage. 

Technological innovations offer a unique opportunity to empower these communities by mapping and securing customary lands. We can also support Indigenous Peoples in safeguarding their lands by providing access to climate finance.

International Day of Forests

International Day of Forests serves as a reminder of the intricate connection between forests, technology, and innovation. It’s a call to action for individuals, communities, and governments to invest in new solutions for a better world. 

By embracing technology and innovation, we can address the pressing challenges of deforestation, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss. On this day, we are reminded of the power of collective action and the potential of innovative solutions to not only preserve but also enhance our forested landscapes for future generations.


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