This year’s International Day of Forests theme (“Forest restoration: a path to recovery and wellbeing”) makes it clear: to save forests is save the home of wildlife, but also the very basis of our physical and mental health as a species. World Land Trust (WLT) wants to celebrate this special day by bringing the symphony of global forests into your home – a new video to transport you to some of the forests you’ve helped us protect throughout the years.
If any of us ever lost sight of how important forests are to us, the past few months have been a timely reminder.
As societies ground to a halt in 2020 and 2021, the stillness that descended upon our towns and cities became a clean canvas for sounds of a long-gone world, a world before the cacophony of cars, crowds and planes came to invade every second of our lives. For long drowned out, the song of the forests was allowed these past few months to ring out as loud and clearly as it once did.
This was a song we hadn’t stopped to listen to for so long and those of us lucky enough to recently visit a forest have found ourselves rediscovering it: the wind rustling through new leaves up high in the canopy, mixed in with the spent life of dry leaves crackling under our feet. The chirping robin, the industrious woodpecker, the springing deer – had these notes of the forest always been this sharp, this evocative, or was it just that we were busy looking elsewhere?
Our video of forest sounds will take you on a journey through wild places around the world.
On the International Day of Forests, you won’t have to live near a forest to hear this symphony. Wherever you are, the forest sound recordings of our new video will transport you to places close to where WLT began, like the Suffolk woods greeting the dawn with a chorus of nightingales.
And yet stay with us, for this journey through forest sound recordings will carry you further afield, to some of the natural wonders you’ve helped our partners to save in America, Asia and beyond: Ecuador’s Chocó rainforests, India’s Ghat mountains, Mexico’s Sierra Gorda misty woodlands and Vietnam’s singing gibbon valleys.
Saving humankind’s green home since time immemorial
Whenever we think we have sufficiently grasped how crucial forests are to us, statistics come to show us their importance goes beyond what we can imagine.
As the UN recently reminded us, forests are home to a staggering 80% of all terrestrial species of animals and plants; they are the main source of food, shelter, energy and medicines for the hundreds of millions of people who live within or along forested areas. When we tear them down, we unleash a manmade catastrophe – the deforestation-driven release of carbon stored by trees – that warms up our planet more than every car, boat and plane combined.
And yet facts and figures alone will never fully explain our bond with forests; a bond that goes much further back than our (relatively recent) realisation that we must protect them for selfish – our own survival – as well as moral reasons.
Many have heard the scientific accounts of the first Homo sapiens roaming vast savannah plains in Africa, but less known is that people were already adapted to life in the rainforest as far back as 20,000 to 45,000 years ago.
The fact that this bond goes back to our very beginnings hasn’t stopped humankind from stretching it to its limits, with deforestation rising every passing year. And yet for every story told of a forest cornered by human activity, another exists that shows how people rose to protect it.
Take WLT supporters, who time and time again show what this year’s International Day of Forests theme – the restoration of forests – means in practice.
When the Vietnam War devastated lush forests, our supporters acted decades later to bring 120,000 new trees to the barren hillsides. When oil palm plantations endangered some of the last 2% of Ecuador’s Chocó forests, our supporters stepped up to save it. When the future brings new threats to forests, everyone part of the WLT movement will be there to respond – this much we know.
Our world is a world of forests and to remember this, to truly remember this, we must stop the everyday noise, close our eyes and listen.
Only by paying attention to the forests’ song can we understand that they are not something external to our home – forests are our home, from Suffolk to Ecuador, India, Mexico and Vietnam. And when we act to protect them, we make a difference.
On a heating planet with deforestation on the rise, forests need you more than ever. Donations to our Plant a Tree programme will allow you to restore threatened ecosystems worldwide, expanding the home of wildlife. At £5 per tree, everyone can join in – and donating on someone’s behalf will give your loved ones a gift that lasts.
Donate today, fund new trees so that the song of global forests never stops ringing!
Read more about Plant a Tree
For just £5, you can fund a tree’s nurturing, planting and protection.