UN General Assembly in 2012 proclaimed 21st March as the International Day of Forests. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all type of forests. The International Day of Forests-2023 was celebrated in Forest Research Institute, Dehradun on 21st March 2023. A guest lecture on “Historical Land Uses and Biodiversity” was delivered by Professor Emeritus, University of Montana, USA on the occasion.
At the outset of programme Ms. Richa Misra, IFS, Head, Extension Division, FRI welcomed all the participants of the programme which included Director, FRI Dr. Renu Singh, Director IGNFA Sh. Bharat Jyoti, Sh Rajiv Bhartari, Chairman, Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board, Professor Emeritus Stephen Siebert and his wife Jill Belsky a sociologist from the University of Montana, Sh S.K Awasthi, Additional Director IGNFA, Sh Anurag Bhardwaj, Director, Directorate of Education, senior officials from IGNFA, scientists from ICFRE-FRI, IFS probationers, Officer Trainees from CASFOS, Ph.D scholars, masters students from FRI deemed to be University and prize winning students from Kendriya Vidyalaya under Dehradun jurisdiction.
Director FRI Dr. Renu Singh, gave the opening remarks. She spoke on the theme of IDF 2023 Forests and Health. She stated that forests provide goods, services and employment and income to about 2.5 billion people worldwide and how people benefit indirectly from the multiple environmental services that forests provide, such as carbon sequestration, temperature control and air purification. She spoke that forests provide food and livelihood and income earning opportunities that contribute to food security and nutrition. She highlighted the role of forests as a source of a wide variety of medicinal products that form the backbone of traditional medicine. She also spoke about the Urban and peri-urban forests and the role of trees to help mitigate many of the drawbacks of living in urban areas like buffering noise; reducing the urban heat island effect, providing green space for exercise, recreation and recovery from stress and how conserving and sustainably using forests is one of the best ways of protecting our planet and ourselves.
This was followed by a guest lecture on “Historical Land Uses and Biodiversity” was delivered by Professor Emeritus, University of Montana,USA. Professor Siebert spoke at length on the role of humans through the generations in helping in maintaining and to an extent enhancing biodiversity through examples from the Mayan civilization, the Mediterranean and the aborigines in Australia. He also spoke about the role of fire in forest management especially in reducing fuel load thereby reducing the risk for forest fires. The session was very well received and a number of questions was posed to the speaker. Sh Rajiv Bhartari, Chairman, Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board also spoke on the role of people in maintaining natural landscapes.
In the last part of the programme, prize distribution to KV students who won the painting and slogan writing competitions held at FRI on the topics “Forests and Health” and “Importance of Forests in Human Life” was carried out.
The anchoring of the programme was done by Ms. Vijaya Ratre, IFS Assistant Silviculturist, FRI. The team of extension including Dr. Charan Singh, Dr Devendra Kumar, Sh Rambir Singh, Sh, Vijay Kumar, Sh P. P. Singh, Sh. Naveen Chauhan, Ms. Afshan Zaidi, Ms. Garima and other officials contributed immensely in making the programme successful.