Celebrating Forests on World Wildlife Day

March 3 marked this year’s World Wildlife Day, an annual celebration of the wild plants and animals that make up our ecosystems. Read on to learn more about World Wildlife Day and how Greenstand is protecting biodiversity through tracking trees!

Introduction

The intricate relationship between humans and wildlife predates civilization. From coexisting for domestication to near-irreversible conflict lasting millennia, ecological interactions foretell a long-lasting mutualism between humans and nature. March 3 marked this year’s World Wildlife Day, a joint project between the UN Development Programme and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to promote sustainable interactions between humans and our natural environment. This year’s theme was Forests: Sustaining People and Planet. Media and virtual events surrounding World Wildlife Day directly addressed the significance of forest ecosystems not just for wildlife, but for humans as well. It is now or never for humankind to advance forest management practices and increase wildlife conservation initiatives. At Greenstand, we value the restoration of decimated forests and our work directly impacts forests and biodiversity. Our Treetracker app allows growers to replenish their land while providing for their families. We use digital impact trading technology to promote reforestation and contribute to protecting wildlife. Compensating humans to restore degraded lands is key to ensuring that we continue to coexist sustainably with nature.

Forests and Livelihoods

Between 200 and 350 million people live within or adjacent to a forest area. The livelihood of these forest communities depends on wildlife and environmental conditions. 

Biodiversity plays a vital factor in how resources are utilized. Protecting wild species and the areas they inhabit helps sustain healthy relationships and enhance restoration within various ecosystems. For tribal communities, the forests are their home, and a way of life passed down for generations. Their lifestyles include a conscious separation of human life and the planet. Land is respected as an entity, rather than a means of production. Their lives become disturbed when tourism and industrial activities degrade their villages and land. Exploitation of Indigenous communities is coupled with disease, violation of human rights, and disrespect. Down to Earth states, "For over a century, conservation has resulted in cultural destruction and large-scale displacements of tribal people from their ancestral lands."

Forest management practices among Indigenous groups have remained relatively the same over thousands of years. Despite each community having its own customs and values, they all have a similar goal in maintaining biodiversity and respecting cultural landscapes. Each community pays respect to their land in its own way. Many cultural beliefs and practices revolve around the connectivity of living and non-living things, and the energy output is reciprocated in your life.

For example, the Bulang people in the Mangba Village in China believe banyan trees are sacred. "A banyan tree has many branches and leaves, a huge crown, good vitality, a well-developed root system, and often raised roots protruding from the ground with unique shapes. A forest becomes sacred when its power is recognized, and villagers believe that the vitality of banyan trees is so strong because of their divinity." The Bulang people connect the development of their lives to the growth of the banyan trees. In turn, the forest provides an abundance of eucalyptus trees and pine oleoresin. World Wildlife Day acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between humans and the forest and how governments worldwide need to implement initiatives to protect their land and their rights.

Conclusion

World Wildlife Day brings awareness to communities whose ancestors have survived entirely off of their local environments.

Protecting the world's forests safeguards biodiversity and the history of forest-dependent- peoples. Recognizing the importance of preserving Indigenous people's rights and other minority ethnic groups is key to the sustainability movement. Tree farmers who depend on forests have the opportunity to generate income through Greenstand's Treetracker app while restoring the land that they rely upon for their survival. The United Nations affirms, "Indigenous peoples and local communities are at the forefront of the symbiotic relationship between humans and forest, forest-dwelling wildlife species and the ecosystem services they provide.” Greenstand and World Wildlife Day together promote the vitality of the earth via human-powered restoration, today and every day. 


Sydney Stokes

Communications & Marketing Intern

sydneyastokes16@gmail.com