he U. S. Forest Service, today with partner organizations, the National Association of State Foresters and the American Forest Foundation, announce the U.S. celebration of the official United Nations International Year of Forests 2011. The theme of the U.S. campaign is “Celebrate Forests. Celebrate Life.”
Trees and forests provide a wealth of social, economic, environmental, aesthetic, cultural and health benefits. Because of forests, millions of Americans have access to clean drinking water, an abundance of recreational opportunities, cleaner air, and countless jobs. Urban trees and forests also make important contributions by enhancing neighborhood livability, increasing home prices, and reducing household energy use and the effects of climate change. In short, trees and forests improve the quality of life in urban and rural areas alike.
“The International Year of Forests provides an excellent platform to increase awareness of the connections between healthy forests, ecosystems, people and economies,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It is also an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments, reach out to new audiences, and work with partners across all landscapes.”
The U.N. launch of the international year will take place Feb. 2 and 3 at the ninth session of the U.N. Forum on Forests in New York City, in which many foreign dignitaries and ministers will participate. The program will include high-level roundtable discussions, media activities, film screenings, the issuance of the U.N. commemorative stamp series and other side events. During the official U.N. launch, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will participate in the high-level roundtable discussion on “Forests for People.”