Health Days 2011
World Environment Day
Introduction 
World Environment Day (WED) has been celebrated on June 5th each year since 1972.  WED was established by the United Nations General Assembly to mark the opening of the 1972 Stockholm Conference. 
   
This year UNEP plans to make WED 2011 into a bigger celebration than ever before, building on the unprecedented success of WED 2010 - when people in more than 112 countries registered activities on the WED website. 

This year, WED supports the UN’s International Year of Forests with the theme, “Forests: Nature at Your Service.” This theme underscores the many essential life-sustaining values that forests provide, and the intrinsic link between our quality of life and the health of forest ecosystems.
 
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that India will be the global host of World Environment Day 2011.  India is a nation of 1.2 billion people who continue to put pressure on forest ecosystems, especially in densely populated areas where farmers are cultivating marginal lands and where overgrazing is contributing to desertification.  

International Approved Date: 5\6\2011-06-04
Regionally Approved Date:          3\7\1432 H 

World Environment Day’s Theme: 
 “Forests: Nature at Your Service”

Our theme underscores the intrinsic link between our quality of life and the health of forest ecosystems.

Targeted Categories: 
  • Environment Protection Associations and  Weather Services
  • Health and environment decision makers  
  • Ministries of  Water, Irrigation, Industry and Electricity 
  • Businessmen 
  • Researchers  
  • General public 
Objectives 
  • Stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and encourage political attention and action.
  • Bring awareness to the general public to prevent harmful effects on the environment caused by their activities. 
  • Empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development.  
  • Contribute credible learning towards consolidating regional policy frameworks and actions for implementing sustainable management.  
  • Contributing to national and regional frameworks of cooperation for good environmental governance.
  • Improving knowledge on harming forest and green land ecosystems which is linked to negative human activities including: 
    • Overgrazing
    • Hunting rare species as a hobby or for trading
    • Environment violation
    • Global warming 
World Environment Day’s Logo: 

Related Links
  • http://www.unep.org/wed/2010/english/
  • http://www.pittsburghwed.com/
  • http://www.un.org/en/events/iyof2011/
  • http://www.fao.org/forestry/iyf2011/ar/
  • http://www.moa.gov.sa/khrj-dir/p_webcont?p_sys_code=309
  • http://www.fao.org/forestry/iyf2011/69186/ar/

World Environment Day 2011 Scientific Article

Forests play multiple roles in our lives.  They provide shelter and are habitats for biodiversity.  They are a source of food, medicine, fresh air, and clean water.  They are a crucial part of the equation for maintaining a stable global climate and environment.  In short, forests are vital to the survival and well-being of people everywhere. 

Forests and Air 
  • Over 40% of the world’s oxygen is produced by rainforests. 
  • Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. 
Forests and Water  
  • A tree releases 8-10 times more moisture into the atmosphere than the equivalent area of the ocean.  
  • Forests protect watersheds which supply fresh water to rivers 
  • Loss of forests could affect rainfall patterns globally, especially in food-growing regions in Latin America, the American mid-West and Central Asia. 
  • Deforestation leads to soil erosion and to rivers becoming silted, both of which reduce access to clean water.  
Forests and Biodiversity
  • Forests are home to over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity.  
  • In the Amazon basin alone, more than 1,300 species of forest plants are used for medicinal or cultural purposes. 
  • 12% of the world’s forests are designated for the conservation of biological diversity (FRA 2010). 
  • Deforestation of closed tropical rainforests could account for the loss of as many as 100 species a day.
Forests Build Resilience to Natural Disasters 
  • Nearly 330 million hectares of forest are designated for soil and water conservation, avalanche control, sand dune stabilization, desertification control or coastal protection. (FRA 2010) 
  • Mangrove forests act as a barrier against tsunamis, cyclones and hurricanes.  
  • “Green Wall for the Sahara” - The European Union and African Union are implementing a project to build a ‘green wall’ of trees across the Sahara to push back desertification and to secure agriculture and livelihoods in the desert and coast zones. 
Forests and Land
  • Forests cover 31% of global land areas. 
  • Forest and tree cover combats land degradation and desertification by stabilizing soils, reducing water and wind erosion and maintaining nutrient cycling in soils.    
Forests are a key part of the climate change solution
  • The carbon in forests exceeds the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.  FRA 2010 estimates that the world’s forests store 289 megatons of carbon in their biomass alone.
  • 17.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions resulted from deforestation and forest degradation.
  • Forests offer the quickest, most cost-effective and largest-scale means of curbing global emissions.  Halving greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2200 would save the world approximately $3.7 trillion (The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, 2006).
Healthy forests, healthy people
  • Tropical forests provide a vast array of medicinal plants used in healing and healthcare, worth an estimated $108 billion a year.   
  • More than a quarter of modern medicines originate from tropical forest plants. 
  • Forests curb infectious diseases. Undisturbed tropical forests can have a moderating effect on insect- and animal-borne disease.
  • 40% of the world’s population lives in malaria-infested regions. Heavily deforested areas can see a 300-fold increase in the risk of malaria infection compared to areas of intact forests. 
  • 72% of emerging infectious diseases transmitted from animals to humans come from wildlife as opposed to domesticated animals.  Deforested areas increase contact between wildlife and humans and affect pathogen transmission. 
Forests are our livelihoods/wealth
  • 1.6 billion people around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods and daily subsistence needs. 
  • The global gross value-added in the forestry sector is US$ 468 billion. 
  • The global trade in primary wood products is US$ 235 billion. 
  • Tropical forests provide pollination services to agriculture valued at US $12 billion per year.  
  • Given that more than 1 billion hectares of degraded areas throughout the world are suitable for forest landscape restoration; community-based forest management could be woven into other existing rural economic activities.
International Laws for Protecting Forests 
  • Issue international and regional legislation regarding protecting forests 
  • Issue legislation regarding protecting endangered plant species in forests from over-use.    
  • Protect endangered species of plants in forests by transferring and growing such plants inside protectorates, green gardens or gene banks. 
  • Control pollution in forest biospheres.  
  • Control all kinds of activities which harm forests, including grazing, logging, camping, waste dumping and fire-setting. 
  • Relocate all polluting factories away from forested areas. 
  • Assign agriculture technician inspectors (forest guardians) to report any spread of epidemic or harmful insects in forests.   
  • Assign forest guardians to control and report any violations.  
  • Establish firefighting units and centers near forests. 
  • Re-plant trees in damaged forest areas. 
  • Replace damaged forest plants using plants created using plant tissue and cell culture, in order to increase and strengthen the resistance of such plants to disease and insects. 
  • Raise public awareness about the advantages of healthy forests.    
Forests in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Forests make up about 1.35% percent of the total land area of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Most of the Kingdom’s forested areas lie west of the Kingdom in the Al Sarawat mountain range.  The uppermost portions of the Al Sarawat Mountains are covered with arar trees, with olive trees found lower down.   Acacia trees cover mountaintops, valleys and other lowland areas.  The Kingdom’s forests are vital to preserving soil, water and biodiversity.  
Forest products are being imported to meet national market requirements.  Studies show that the main reasons for the degradation of the Kingdom’s forest include growth of human population, overgrazing, scarcity of rainfall and the spread of insect pests and diseases. 
Another major direct cause of forest degradation is the lack of sufficient forest management practices and environmental laws, along with a lack of qualified specialists.  If this situation continues, forest degradation will continue to occur, particularly in the Southwestern region of the country, resulting in many environmental, social and economic consequences. 
During the past three decades, significant social, economic, environmental and political changes have occurred in the Kingdom, and these changes have all either directly or indirectly affected our national forests.  Forest protection policies, programs and activities are highly recommended, and might include:
  • Setting and financing a National Forest Strategic Plan. 
  • Improving green land and forest management practices in Asir, Al Taif, Al Baha and Jizan regions, with well-trained staff and sufficient budget in place to meet national objectives and international standards.    
  • Encourage people who live in areas near forests to participate in forest protection, management and development. 
Saudi Arabia’s Forest and Rangeland Policies and Regulations: 
Forest areas in the Kingdom vary from one region to another due to overgrazing, logging and other human activities which cause forest degradation and negatively affect the ecosystem.  To help combat these negative activities, the Ministry of Agriculture adopted such new strategies as the Forests and Rangelands Act in 1398 H (1977), in accordance with Royal Decree Number 22\M, dated  3\5\1398 H.  This decree approved the Council of Ministers Resolution Number 392,  dated 18\4\1498 H.   Such decrees prove our leaders’ resolve to protect our forests and other natural resources.   Regulations for the Forests and Rangelands Act were issued based on the Ministry of Agriculture Resolution Number 34931, dated 27\10\1399 H (1978).            

An Overview on the Forests and Rangelands Act  
The Forests and Rangelands Act contains six sections and twenty-five articles. The first section covers a number of general laws.  The second and third sections provide information about how to develop and protect forests and rangelands.  The fourth section lists unauthorized activities and violations.  The fifth section authorizes the assessment of civil and criminal penalties for violating the Act or regulations.  Article 14 states that any person who cuts a whole tree, or any part of it, burns  or exports logs in violation of existing laws, rules and regulations shall pay SR300 per small tree and SR1,000 per large tree, or 3 months detention for the first offense.  The penalty is doubled for the second offense.  
The Forests and Regulations Act also lists categories of forests.  Some forests and rangelands may not be subjected to human activities without a license from the Ministry of Agriculture; these include: 
  • Forests designated for avalanche control and sand dune stabilization.
  • Forests growing on earth which tilts more than 40%. 
  • Forests designated for controlling and preserving water.  
  • Forests whose trees control flooding. 
  • Forests designated as green walls around cities and villages. 
    The Forests and Rangelands Act provides information about how to obtain licenses for forest and rangeland investments.  The Minister of Agriculture is currently studying and updating the Forests and Rangelands Act to make sure it complies with current global and environmental standards while also taking into account the economic, environmental and social changes which have taken place in the Kingdom during the past twenty years.
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