Forests: Nature at Your ServiceThe theme for World Environment Day 2011 was Forests: Nature at Your Service. Forests cover one third of the earth's land mass, performing vital functions and services around the world which make our planet alive with possibilities. In fact, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.
Forests feed our rivers and are essential to supplying the water for nearly 50% of our largest cities. They create and maintain soil fertility; they help to regulate the often devastating impact of storms, floods and fires.
Splendid and inspiring, forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, and are home to more than half of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
They also provide shelter, jobs, security and cultural relevance for forest-dependent populations. They are the green lungs of the earth, vital to the survival of people everywhere -- all seven billion of us.
Moreover, they embody so much of what is good and strong in our lives. Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need to live and breathe.
The services forests provide are essentially to every aspect of our quality of life. And the answer to sustainable forest management, moving towards a green economy, lies in our hands
The Republic of India hosted World Environment Day, 5 June 2011, for the first time since the celebrations began in 1972. The year's commemorations were the largest and most widely celebrated globally.
India is the second most populous nation in the world with around 1.2 billion people. It has the seventh largest land mass on the planet, 3.28 million square kilometers, providing home to a largely Hindu population.