International Day of Forests

Healthy forests for a healthy planet.

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Our forests are diminishing by some ten million hectares a year according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the body behind the promotion of the United Nations’ International Day of Forests, held on 21 March each year. 

Illegal logging and deforestation contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions, displace communities and deprive us of a life-giving natural resource. Restoring forests can help to reverse those effects, creating jobs and precious resources.

“Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being” is this year’s theme and ISO has standards that can help achieve this.

ISO 38200, Chain of custody of wood and wood-based products, facilitates sustainable forestry through enabling the traceability of wood products. It provides reassurance to customers of wood suppliers that products come from legally harvested sources along the whole supply chain, thus encouraging the use of sustainable wood and deterring illegal methods.

Also contributing to the restoration of forests is ISO 14055-1, Environmental management – Guidelines for establishing good practices for combatting land degradation and desertification – Part 1: Good practices framework, which provides good-practice guidelines for tackling land degradation and desertification in arid and non-arid regions.

The standard refers to actions or interventions undertaken with the purpose of preventing or minimizing land degradation or, where land is already degraded, aiding its recovery to improve productivity and ecosystem health. It covers aspects such as the respect for human rights, forest management and agricultural practices, climate conditions and industrial activities.

Use of both of these standards, and many more, contribute directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for life on land (SDG 15), which aims to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”. They are available from your national ISO member or the ISO Store.

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