Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.
Trees, woodland and forest
What communities can do
Overview, see right hand column for more
Greenpeace petition, save the Great Northern Forest
Why it matters
Forests cover one third of the earth's land mass, performing vital functions and services around the world which make our planet alive with possibilities. In fact, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.
Forests feed our rivers and are essential to supplying the water for nearly 50% of our largest cities. They create and maintain soil fertility and they help to regulate the often devastating impact of storms, floods and fires.
Splendid and inspiring, forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, and are home to more than half of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
Forests also provide shelter, jobs, security and cultural relevance for forest-dependent populations. They are the green lungs of the earth, vital to the survival of people everywhere - all seven billion of us.
Forests embody so much of what is good and strong in our lives. Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need to live and breathe.
Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - every year 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed. That's equal to the size of Portugal.
Short-term investments for immediate gains (i.e. logging) compound these losses. People who depend on forests for their livelihoods are struggling to survive. Many precious species face extinction. Biodiversity is being obliterated. What's more, economists around the world have proven that by not integrating the values of forests into their budgets, countries and businesses are paying a high price. One that ultimately impoverishes us all as harm to our forest life-support system continues each and every single day.
But this trend is not irreversible. It's not too late to transform life as we know it into a greener future where forests are at the heart of our sustainable development and green economies.
Conserving forests and expanding them need to be recognized as a business opportunity. When we add it up, an investment of US$30 billion fighting deforestation and degradation could provide a return of US$2.5 trillion in new products and services.
Furthermore, targeted investments in forestry could generate up to 10 million new jobs around the world. Already, many leaders are glimpsing the potential for renewable energy and nature-based assets, but for transformation to happen, forests need to become a universal political priority.
The services forests provide are essential to every aspect of our quality of life and individual action can result in exponential impact, so do your part! 
Forests and health
Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation. Reforestation can be used to improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigate global warming since forests facilitate biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and harvest for resources, particularly timber.
The term reforestation is similar to afforestation, the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forests that may have existed long ago but were deforested or otherwise removed at some point in the past. Sometimes the term re-afforestation is used to distinguish between the original forest cover and the later re-growth of forest to an area. Special tools, e.g. tree planting bar, are used to make planting of trees easier and faster. W
Citizens data initiative
Greenhouse gas emissions with felling, slash and burn agriculture and other deforestation effects, account for around 17 per cent or more of global emissions-the second largest source after the energy sector. 
World Agroforestry Centre, international institute headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and founded in 1978. The Centre specializes in the sustainable management, protection and regulation of tropical rainforest and natural reserves. It is one of 15 agricultural research centres which makes up the global network known as the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research). The Centre conducts research in agroforestry, in partnership with national agricultural research systems with a view to developing more sustainable and productive land use. The focus of its research is countries/regions in the developing world, particular in the tropics of Central and South America, Southeast Asia and parts of central Africa. W
News and comment
Sep 12 World 'losing battle against deforestation' 
A eureka moment for the planet: we’re finally planting trees again, Feb 13, John Vidal 
Regreening the planet could cut as much carbon as halting oil use, Oct 17 
Meet the teen planting 150 trees for every person on Earth, Mar 11 
Mapping Urban Trees in 11 Cities, Dec 30 
Collect Earth: Google and FAO launch new forest tool, Nov 11 
NASA scientist is using drones to plant 1 billion trees per year, May 24 
The world's 3 trillion trees, mapped, September 16 
New map reveals ‘astronomical’ scale of human impact on forests, September 2 
New online tool tracks tree loss in 'near real time', February 21