Today we celebrate the International Day of Forests. Forests are undeniably a diverse and highly valuable natural resource for people and our native species. They help to keep our water, air and soil clean. Australia's native forests provide food and shelter for us as well as supporting culture, recreation and tourism. A wide variety of native flora and fauna species that are found nowhere else on the planet also live within forests in Australia...
The theme for 2019 is Forests and Education and the United Nations is encouraging us all to remember how vital forests are and the importance of education to ensure their survival for future generations.
In the spirit, here's a pop quiz to see how well you know your forests. Here are some questions to consider:
- Can you name three categories of Australian forests? Acacia, Callitris, Casuarina, Eucalypt, Mangrove, Melaleuca, Rainforest and 'other'. The dominant species of a forest determine the category.
- How much of Australia is made up of forest? Sadly, it's now only 17%.
- How many hectares of forests are in Australia? Approximately 134 million hectares, 98% of this is native forest.
- Which Australian state comprises the largest area of native forests?Queensland, 39% is native forest.
- How many trees are chopped down each year in Australia? Estimates are between 3.5 - 7 million trees each year.
- In the Daintree Lowlands, Queensland, we are partnering with Reforest Now to replant important feeding habitat to save the iconic Southern Cassowary. An impressive 2,500 trees have been planted to date with more planned.
- Near Gladstone, also in Queensland, we are fighting to save the most endangered macadamia nut species in the world. With only 137 trees naturally occurring, funding from FAME is enabling propagating work to ensure this species doesn't disappear completely.
- Down in the Otway Ranges, Victoria, important work is being done to secure the survival of a rare lily, the Tall Astelia, currently known from only a handful of locations.
How can you get involved in International Day of Forests?
Mark the day by looking up your next local tree planting campaign and get involved. If we all spare just 2 hours by giving back to our environment on a weekend, imagine the impact.
Questions and answers from the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.