Today, 5 April 2021, is the first day of the Forest Week. It has been celebrated in our country every first full week of April since 1925, when the eight Forest Act in Bulgaria was introduced. Throughout the years, the days of the Forest Week have been dedicated to mass afforestation, in which thousands of people from all over the country have participated.

Happy holiday to foresters and all those who love and care for the forest!

1. Forests are our guardians and silent helpers.. They play a bigger role in our lives than we can imagine. During the Forest Week, we reveal seven secrets that forests keep from us:

2.Forests are true ‘food markets’ – globally, almost 50% of the fruits we eat come from trees, which also provide us with nuts and spices. Some communities rely entirely on forests as a source of food. Around 40% of people in extremely poor rural areas – some 250 million people – live in forests and savannas. For them, forests are the insurance against hunger.

3. Forests provide much of the drinking water for 1/3 of the world’s largest cities, including New York and Mumbai. The sources of many rivers and streams are found in forests. Trees filter water and provide us with clean drinking water, which is the basis of life.

4. About 1/3 of the world’s population uses wood as a source of energy for cooking, hot water, and heating. This brings to the forefront the urgent need to manage this resource sustainably in order to protect it from degradation.

5. Forests are our heroes in the fight against climate change. They make our cities more resilient by naturally cooling the air and removing pollutants. They keep us healthy by providing places for recreation. They tackle land degradation and resist biodiversity loss by providing habitats for plants and animals.

6. Forests absorb around 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. But when trees are cut down, they release this carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change after the burning of fossil fuels. Wood burning accounts for almost 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions – more than the emissions from the entire transport sector worldwide.

7. Forests are places for recreation. It is no coincidence that nature-based tourism is growing three times faster than the conventional tourism industry as a whole and now accounts for approximately 20% of the global market. Studies have even found a link between the increase in green spaces and trees in cities with a reduction in obesity and crime. For example, obesity rates of children living in areas with access to parks are lower than those with little or no access to green areas.

Sustainable management of forests and the use of their resources are key to combating climate change and biodiversity loss. The well-being of present and future generations also depends on them. The loss of forests also means loss of irreplaceable habitats for animal and plant life. Their restoration is a key objective of “The Eagle’s Lands and Forests” project. It is implemented by the Executive Forest Agency in partnership with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, South-Eastern and North-Eastern State Enterprises. The long-term conservation of the Lesser Spotted Eagle in our country, through the protection and sustainable management of its habitats and the creation of new ones, is the focus of the project activities.