Biorestoration and tree planting campaigns as well as activities carried out to restore vegetation, forest and habitats, being implemented by GSNE “Orchis” in the frames of the Keep Georgia Tidy Project through financial support of the Government of Sweden, facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs cover wide range of issues and address crosscutting components of the sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. In this context, the measures for the protection, conservation, prevention of degradation and restoration of biodiversity are essential components of the sustainable development and accomplishment of the SDGs, which could be mainly achieved through the maintenance of multiple and key ecosystem services offered by the biodiversity.
Generally, biorestoration and tree planting measures are among the most effective instruments for climate change mitigation. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, one of the major climate change contributors, and thus reduce its concentration in the atmosphere and respectively the level of climate change. That’s why global environment protection society (and not only they) pay particular attention to forest restoration in the context of combating climate change, and that’s why the tree planting and reforestation / afforestation activates can bring particular benefits.
The significance and particular role of forests for the environment protection and socio-economic well-being is repeatedly mentioned, and the world community has paid attention to this processes for years. To raise public awareness on the importance of forests and the necessity to preserve and restore them, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 21 March as the International Day of Forests in 1971.
At present this day is celebrated in many countries worldwide, when they, defining different themes, organize various activities. Georgia, where 21 March distinguishes with number of forest restoration actions, is not an exception to this. This is not surprising, because Georgia has unique and diverse forest ecosystems, and special efforts are devoted to their protection and sustainable use.
Forest ecosystems are of particular importance for the conservation of biodiversity. As such, 2.69 million hectare of the country are covered by forests, what comprises 38.7% of its total territory. Over 90% of forests are situated in mountainous regions, and their significance to control the risk of erosion, landslide, snow avalanche and other natural hazards is high. Respectively, the economic use of forests that grow on steep slopes is limited. Many endemic and endangered species depend on forest ecosystems. Both broadleaved and coniferous forests are spread in Georgia. There one can found sub-alpine, open arid and floodplain forests.
Despite unicity and diversity, forest ecosystems require continuous care as the factors and processes such are: illegal and unsustainable use of forest resources, overgrazing, climate change, spread of pests and diseases, wildfires, spread of invasive species, infrastructure projects, open mining, etc., as growing threats to forest ecosystems, impose high load on them.
Due to this, special actions and, most importantly, further raising of public awareness are required to preserve and restore forests. One of the best ways to this is to celebrate the International Day of Forests.