March 21st is Inter­na­tion­al Day of Forests, which has hon­est­ly got to be one of the best and most impor­tant days ever imple­ment­ed by the U.N. Here’s a link to the Wiki arti­cle, if you’re inter­est­ed in the bor­ing tech­ni­cal stuff that they do.

I want to go to here.

Forests are amaz­ing.  I have loved them since I was a kid, explor­ing what I per­ceived as the rugged wilder­ness of my grand­par­ents’ sub­ur­ban back­yards.  And while I grew to under­stand that the small stretch of woods between prop­er­ties in Hamp­ton Town­ship did not con­sti­tute a forest, I have yet to out­grow my awe of, con­nec­tion to, or love of, wood­ed areas.

Mmm, trop­i­cal rain­forest. Yes, please.

Did you know that 80% of Earth’s ter­res­tri­al bio­di­ver­si­ty is found in forests?  And that while trop­i­cal rain­forests cov­er only 10% of the Earth’s sur­face, more than half of all ter­res­tri­al species are thought to live there?  And don’t be fooled by the phrase “thought to” in that sen­tence.  Half is prob­a­bly a sig­nif­i­cant under­es­ti­mate, since new species are being dis­cov­ered all the time, and many of the rain­forests through­out the world remain large­ly unex­plored.

Tem­per­ate Rain­forests are total­ly rad, you guys.

Also! When peo­ple hear the word rain­forest, they usu­al­ly think of the jun­gles of the trop­ics, but did you know that there are rain­forests right here in the USA?! On the West Coast of the USA and Canada is what’s known as a tem­per­ate rain­forest, stretch­ing from Kodi­ak Island in Alaska to North­ern Cal­i­for­nia.  Tem­per­ate rain­forests are also found on the south­ern tip of South Amer­i­ca, in Aus­tralia, North­west­ern Europe, and North­east­ern Asia.

Though most peo­ple think of leop­ards as com­ing only from warm cli­mates like the African Savan­nah, the Amur Leop­ard is native to a region of Siberia that boasts exter­me­ly harsh win­ters.

Prob­a­bly the coolest forest, though, is the taiga.  Taiga refers to the bio­me found just below the tun­dra at the Earth’s north pole.  There’s not real­ly south­ern taiga because Antarc­ti­ca is sur­round­ed by oceans, but the Arc­tic region is sur­round­ed on a few sides by North Amer­i­ca and Asia, and the land below the Arc­tic Cir­cle is home to the taiga. Taiga is char­ac­ter­ized by thick forests of ever­green, most­ly conif­er­ous trees, and weath­er pat­terns that can most eas­i­ly be described as tun­dra-lite.  Win­ters are long and sev­ere, sum­mers short and mild.  Despite the harsh liv­ing con­di­tions, though, the taiga is still home to plen­ty of awe­some plants and ani­mals.  The Asian taiga is home to the Siberi­an Tiger and the Amur Leop­ard, two of the rarest big cats in the world.  The taiga also con­tains approx­i­mate­ly one third of all the trees in the entire world, and pro­duces about one quar­ter of the oxy­gen we breathe.

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green, deep woods.” — John Muir

Basi­cal­ly what I’m say­ing, peo­ple, is that forests are total­ly amaz­ing and are prob­a­bly the best thing on this entire plan­et of Earth.  With the way things are going, it’s like­ly that the entire con­cept of forests is going to rad­i­cal­ly be chang­ing in the next 50 years or so, so take the oppor­tu­ni­ty now to expe­ri­ence forests as they are, and may­be par­tic­i­pate in some of the ways that peo­ple are try­ing to pre­serve and pro­tect them.

Here’s anoth­er one of the taiga, because it’s awe­some.

You can learn more about the Unit­ed Nations’ Day of Forests efforts here.

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So, what do you think?