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Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land and provide home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities. This remarkable role played by forests is recognised the world over through activities to commemorate the International Day of Forests on March 21st each year.

The theme of the 2016 International Day of Forests was “forests and water”.

Did you know?

  • Forested watersheds and wetlands supply 75 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater.
  • About one-third of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant proportion of their drinking water directly from forested protected areas.
  • Nearly 80 percent of the world’s population – 8 out of 10 people – is exposed to high levels of threat to water security.
  • Improved water resource management can show considerable economic gains.
  • Forests act as natural water filters.
  • Climate change is altering forests role in water flows and the availability of water resources.
  • Forests have a crucial role in building and strengthening resilience.

To mark the Day, Eco Relief organised in Cameroon a joint celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day on March 21st. The World Water Day is normally commemorated on March 22nd. The celebration was in the form of a seminar organised on the sub-theme “Forests and Water | Sustain Life and Livelihoods”. This was aimed at raising awareness of the interconnections between forests and water and their contributions to the implementation of the post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To stay true to its mission of rehabilitating ecosystems, Eco Relief mobilised members of the community to plant trees around a major watershed in the rural community of Muea in the South West Region of Cameroon. As a result of deforestation and soil degradation, the Koke watershed has over the past decade suffered a drop in the volume of water supplied for household use and agriculture. These trees will grow to provide a protective buffer around the catchment area as well as the banks of the Koke river. This ceremony was used as the platform to launch Eco Relief’s watershed development programme in Cameroon.