UNITED NATIONS, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations said Thursday that "understanding our forests and keeping them healthy is crucial for our future."
"Forests will be more important than ever as the world population climbs to 8.5 billion by 2030," the intergovernmental organization said on a special page of its website dedicated to the International Day of Forests which falls on Thursday.
"You're never too young to start learning about trees. Helping children connect with nature creates future generations conscious of the benefits of trees and forests and the need to manage them sustainably," it said.
"Both modern and traditional knowledge are key to keeping forests healthy. While foresters should know and understand nature well, they should also learn to use cutting-edge technology to ensure that our forests are monitored and managed sustainably," it added.
"Investing in forestry education can change the world for the better. Countries can help ensure there are scientists, policy makers, foresters and local communities working to halt deforestation and restore degraded landscapes," according to the website.
"Women and men should have equal access to forest education. Gender parity in forest education empowers rural women to sustainably manage forests," it noted.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said in a message that "the International Day of Forests provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the many values of forests, and to share our experiences on how forests and trees enrich our daily lives and communities around the world."
Citing an old proverb that "the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now," the under-secretary-general urged the international community to "take that ancient wisdom to heart, by sharing our success stories and looking ahead to the future with optimism."
Mona Juul, vice-president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), said in her statement at a special UN event marking the international day that "in every part of the world, forests provide essential ecosystem services, clean water, and readily accessible energy, and ultimately sustain human well-being livelihood," she added.
Now is the time to reconnect with forests so that together we create a future that benefits both people and this one planet of ours," she noted.
Every March 21, the UN raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests, offering an opportunity for countries to reflect on their afforestation efforts.
The 2019 International Day of Forests promotes education to "Learn to Love Forests." It underscores the importance of education at all levels in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.