Today marks the United Nations’ fifth annual International Day of Forests, a day to celebrate the important and diverse contributions of the world’s forests and help to protect the health of forest ecosystems worldwide.
Forests presently cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s land area, or nearly 4 billion hectares. Sustainably managed forests are healthy, productive, resilient and renewable ecosystems which provide essential goods and services to people worldwide. An estimated 1.6 billion people – 25 per cent of the global population – depend on forests for subsistence, livelihood, employment and income generation.
Forests provide goods such as wood, food, fuel, fibre, fodder, and other non-wood products. They provide a range of ecosystem services, from soil, land, water and biodiversity conservation to climate change mitigation and adaptation, from clean air to reducing the risk of natural disasters including floods, landslides, droughts, and dust and sand storms.
Way back 145 years ago, Yellowstone was made into the first national park in the US.
Native Americans had lived and hunted in the region that would become Yellowstone for hundreds of years before the first Anglo explorers arrived. Abundant game and mountain streams teaming with fish attracted the Indians to the region, though the awe-inspiring geysers, canyons, and gurgling mud pots also fascinated them.
John Colter, the famous mountain man, was the first Anglo to travel through the area. After journeying with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter joined a party of fur trappers to explore the wilderness. In 1807, he explored part of the Yellowstone plateau and returned with fantastic stories of steaming geysers and bubbling cauldrons. Some doubters accused the mountain man of telling tall tales and jokingly dubbed the area “Colter’s Hell.”
Before the Civil War, only a handful of trappers and hunters ventured into the area, and it remained largely a mystery.
The key to Yellowstone’s future as a national park, though, was the 1871 exploration under the direction of the government geologist Ferdinand Hayden. Hayden brought along William Jackson, a pioneering photographer, and Thomas Moran, a brilliant landscape artist, to make a visual record of the expedition. Their images provided the first visual proof of Yellowstone’s wonders and caught the attention of the U.S. Congress, who in 1872 made it a park.
What do you know about this special place? Take our quiz to see!
How much do you know about Yellowstone National Park?
In honor of the 145th anniversary (technically on Feb. 29th) of Yellowstone being made the first National Park, we wanted to test your knowledge about the historic area.
Yet, in all the pomp and circumstance of the annual occasion, Phil forgot to mention it is also World Wetlands Day, and how losing wetlands has more effect on us than his weather forecasting.
Chances are, you are more familiar with a wetland than you are with a woodchuck. Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else.
On this day in 1971, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar to provide the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands, which cover more than 6 percent of the earth.
However, that doesn’t mean the wetlands are doing as well as the famous rodent. Here are the facts:
Global wetlands have declined between 64 – 71 percent since 1900.
The annual cost of the loss of wetland ecosystem services is more than $20 trillion.
Instead of worrying about how accurate a groundhog can be predicting the weather, which statistically is only 36 percent since 1969, consider instead using this day to support our wetlands. Go to t4ci.org/sponsored to see the many sponsored projects which are making a difference.
You may know that birds are the barometer of the ecosystem health and the alert system for detecting global environmental ills.
But what you may not know is today is National Bird Day. Each year on January 5, the official holiday is scheduled to coincide with the end of the annual Christmas Bird Count. It lasts three weeks and is the longest running citizen science survey in the world that helps to monitor the health of our nation’s birds.
In honor of this day, T4CI would like to salute a few of our projects who work to ensure birds throughout the world are healthy and singing a happy tune.
Junglekeepers works to keep part of the pristine amazon rainforest from deforestation and agriculture, to preserve it for all the horticulture and animals who live there, include 1500+ species of birds.
And where would we be without our farm birds including chicken, ducks and geese? Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative is a diversified stakeholders group working together to fight factory farming. Their goal: to change the system that respects the welfare of our planet, including the livestock within our ecosystems.
“An estimated 6.9 trillion gallons of rain fell on Louisiana between Aug. 8-14. In less than one week, 31.30 inches fell….[w]e must think about how we can learn to live with water, even at this scale of inundation. We can’t avoid the rain, but we can prevent the flood.”
~Susannah Burley and Andreas Merkl, The ADVOCATE, Baton Rouge, Sept. 1, 2016.
Susannah is the project director of Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), one of our newer projects focused on driving a resilient and equitable New Orleans through strengthening local water and food systems. Andreas Merkl, is a resident of New Orleans, Chairs the SOUL Advisory Committee, and is the CEO of Ocean Conservancy.
TCI is pleased to welcome the Grumeti Community and Wildlife Conservation Fund to our growing portfolio of Habitat and Species Conservation programs! Based in Tanzania, the Grumeti Fund works to safeguard and enhance Africa’s Serengeti ecosystem in the Singita Grumeti reserve. Grumeti Fund’s programs are diverse and include habitat protection, anti-poaching activities, fire management, the prevention of invasive species that threaten the native ecosystem, environmental education, and natural resource conservation. Grumeti Fund also supports surrounding communities by helping them meet basic needs through the development of clean water systems and by fueling sustainable jobs and resource-based enterprises.
Founded by seasoned international conservationists, the Grumeti Fund is a Tanzanian non-governmental organization. In the United States, the Grumeti Fund is sponsored by TCI and tax-deductible contributions received by TCI are regranted to the Grumeti Fund to support their charitable work.