Marking International Day of Forests: A tree at a time

What would you say to the fact that by the time you finish reading this that a little over 8,000 trees will have been cut down? To put that in perspective, based on the data by WWF, this number of trees would cover an area of about 201 acres which is approximately the size of 153 football pitches.

While that might be hard to believe, consider this; “Based on our projected tree densities, we estimate that over 15 billion trees are cut down each year, and the global number of trees has fallen by approximately 46% since the start of human civilization,” scientists from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies published in their article that mapped tree density at a global scale.

What’s even more shocking is that this statistic doesn’t take into account the recent Amazon fires, which scientists from the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) reported that more than 1,600 square kilometers of the forest burned last year.

Closer home, the rate of deforestation is rising rapidly in Africa. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD cites that Africa’s Congo Basin, the second-largest rain forest on the planet, may be gone by the end of the century if current rates of deforestation persist.

This global issue prompted The United Nations General Assembly to declare 21 March as the International Day of Forests (IDF) back in 2012. On this day, the world is encouraged to not only raise awareness on the importance of trees in our ecosystem but to also take action and increase efforts to combat deforestation that ultimately leads to the endangerment and/or loss of species, soil erosion, flooding and increase in greenhouse gases-to mention a few.

This year’s theme for the international day of forests is ‘Forests and Biodiversity; too precious to loose.’It’s easy to see why there is need for concern. The situation as it is now, is quite dire however, it can be remedied.

Since 1991, Serena Hotels’ tree planting commitment has championed reforestation across its properties in Eastern Africa. We have been able to achieve tremendous results through encouraging our guests, employees and the local communities to plant trees within our properties and in protected areas.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge- 14 years before tree planting

Our tree planting efforts are in line with SDG Goal 13 which entails taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts as well as SDG Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

In the last 17 years alone, Serena Hotels has planted an astounding 6.7 million trees. The impact of this has seen the absorption of 2.5 million tons of CO2 from the environment and the release of 1.9 million tons of oxygen restored back into the atmosphere.

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge- After tree planting

Trees, and by large-forests, are extremely vital to us all. They function as a means for carbon storage by taking in Carbon dioxide and releasing Oxygen during the photosynthesis process. They also act as natural air purification, generate atmospheric conditions that promote regular rainfall and are a habitat for nearly half of Earth’s known species.

Serena Hotels has remained sensitive towards improving and preserving the environment. We continually strive to align our operations, programs and Initiatives to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations Development Programme.

The value of trees and forests, we would argue, is worth more than any precious metal or stone.

So be sure to plant a tree when you visit any of the Serena properties and make a positive impact on the environment.

Every tree counts!

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