Today is the International Day of Forests — a United Nations holiday created to raise awareness about the importance of forests and how we should take action to protect them.
Around 1.6 billion people — including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures — depend on forests for their livelihoods and more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants, and insects live in forests.
Read More: 10 Reasons Forests Are So Important
In addition to being vital to supporting life on Earth, forests are just magnificent places. People live in forests, play in forests, and find peace and inspiration in them.
This year to celebrate, we asked global citizens around the globe to submit photos of their favorite trees or forests and to share what they mean to them.
Read the beautiful and inspiring responses from around the world below:
Melissa — Otway Fly Tree Top Walk, Beech Forest VIC, Australia
“I visit this tree often. It helps me remember that there are things bigger than me, bigger than my day-to-day world. It reconnects me with my local environment and reminds me of how important my mission of living a sustainable lifestyle is. I want other trees to grow as big and live as long. I want the next generation to be able to look up in wonder at big old trees like this and feel their enormity and not just gaze at photos in books of what could have been.”
Alex — Elveden Forest, Suffolk, UK
“I drive through sometimes for work and the majesty of it humbles me and makes me glad to be alive.”
Katherine — Fayetteville, West Virginia
“My favorite tree is a small Pine on the edge of the Diamond Point overlook of Endless Wall Trail, located along the New River Gorge in Fayetteville, West Virginia. Endless Wall is a rugged trail along the Gorge with amazing views of sandstone cliffs and the wild New River below. I love this tree because of it’s daring location, it reminds me that life will always find a way. It is wild and free, facing extreme weather and perilous heights, but I know one day it won’t be there. That little tree is a perfect example of how I feel when I’m on that overlook; wild, free, embracing life while I can.”
Janet — Scarborough, Ontario Canada
“I see them every morning as I turn the corner and it feels like a friend waiting to greet me. I swear they even wave to me :)”
Chris — Wiltshire, UK
“This tree is my favourite tree, I love how it has stayed strong during the wind even though it clearly shows signs of it. It’s a tree I absolutely love and it’s at the top of a hill at a place called Alton Barnes in Wiltshire, UK. When I uploaded the photo on Instagram a lady commented on it and said the photo reminded her of the story ‘The Giving Tree.’ I had never heard of that story before so I looked it up. I loved the story so much. It’s about how trees give unconditionally to us humans (the boy in this story) and sometimes, being human, we don’t always realise until it’s too late.”
Nick — Nova Scotia
“Mother Maple is over 250 years old and stands in the middle of a small circular clearing at the heart of magical Windhorse Farm. The land here is the finest example of old world Acadian forest remaining in Nova Scotia. Her healing properties are stunning and there has been no question unanswered while sitting upon her roots. She is stunning in any garb, though particularly dazzling in her fall colors. I love this tree.”
Donvina — Stockholm, Sweden
“Every morning my dog Bravo and I visit our favorite forest in The Stockholm archipelago, Sweden. This pine tree forest motivates me to be alive, to run, play, laugh, and love.”
Lorraine — Australia
“This is an Australian Jarrah tree, it is one of quite a few in my garden. Every afternoon this tree is full of red tailed black cockatoos which come in for a drink, I feel so privileged to have these beautiful birds visit every day and sit in my tree. It also provides beautiful shade to keep the birdbath water cool in summer, that’s a good reason to love a tree, I think.”
Lynda — Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
“This is a 4,000 year old Baobab. It still blooms every year. I love trees. I’ve been known all my life as a ‘tree hugger.’ Visiting this ancient beauty gave me hope that trees and forests will survive, especially if we all work together to save Mother Earth.”
Juliana — Andean Forest, Colombia
“This is the Andean Forest, native to my home country Colombia. The tree in the center of the picture is an Encenillo and in this particular image you can see what we call a “cama de oso,” which translates into bear bed. It means that in this Encenillo an Andean bear made his bed, it looks just like hammock but made out of sticks.
This forest means so much to me, it’s absolutely incredible how much it gives to us, how much it gives to all Colombians. The forest is directly related to water regulation in its natural cycle. It works like a huge sponge, therefore, this forest is crazy humid and cold and can only be found 300 meters above sea level. The vegetation in this area is made so that it can hold as much water as possible, it captures the water that is in the air all the time, so this huge sponge, in other words, provides water to, if not all, most of Colombia. Besides this enormous function, this forest holds an insane index of biodiversity, including gems such as the Andean Bear. This forest, to me, means life and tremendous pride for my country, I love it and I want to protect it. In the picture I think you can see how magical, how mighty, how beautiful and unique it is.”
Karilyn — Bend, Oregon
“This cherry tree in Bend means juicy happiness and summer vacations with my family. It brings memories of my 10-year-old standing on my shoulders to gorge himself on fresh fruits and passing some down to feed me, his ladder. It also represents a connection to seasons and the changes that occur.”
Peter — Flanders, Belgium
“This is my favourite tree. It stands in the only big forest in Flanders, Belgium: the forest of Meerdael. It is a 300-year old oak and I used to walk there very much with my first wife, who died from cancer. She touched this tree a hundred times to get strength. Today I walk there with my second wife who was the doctor and best friend of my first wife.”
Wendy — Dallas, Texas
“I was never into yard work and planting new things until I moved to my new house. I now have an amazing fig tree I’ve named “Fionuella.” There’s a little Japanese Pistachio at the top of the picture, but you can see the trunk and a lot of Fionuella’s branches. She’s just started putting on leaves. She has been here much longer than I have, but she has made a huge difference in my life and I love sharing her amazing beauty!’
Thijs — Tikal National Park, Guatemala
“This is the Ceiba tree, also known as the tree of life. For me this tree represents my trip to Guatemala, but also represents the beauty of life, strength, and freedom.”
Nicola — High Atlas Mountains, Morocco
“My Favorite tree is located on the flanks of Jebel Toubkal in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. I climbed Jebel Toubkal over three days with two of my best friends in this world in September 2015. This tree was one of the last we saw on our way to the mountain shrine, Sidi Chamarouch. I looked up and saw it for the first time and it was a perfect moment, the rays of the sun hit it from behind and spilt out in a starburst pattern. I felt a magical feeling that made me take a deep breath, and grin, and grab the snap while it all still existed. I captured the magical slice of time that was my favourite tree! I don’t know what kind of tree it is but in my imagination its one of those Argan almond trees that goats climb.”
Trevor — Northern Minnesota
“Boundary Waters is a place with unique wildlife such as fishers, wolves, black bears, moose, and more. The mix of coniferous forest provides a blanket over the glacier-carved landscape. Coming across a stand of red pines fills you with a sense of tranquility. It’s a magical feeling walking through thick brush before emerging beneath these large pine trees. Most people explore the Boundary Waters by canoe but I wanted to travel by foot, experiencing the forest first hand. There is a large variety of plants creating the northern jungle, also known as the North Woods. I’ve traveled across the country but there hasn’t been a place where I feel a greater connection to the land than the forests of Northern Minnesota.”
Jessica — Palatka, Florida
“What this forest means to me? Connection. Breath. Memory.”
Lorelei — Canada
“I love this maple in our front yard. It’s so large that my husband and I can barely touch hands in a circle around it. We’ve spent many wonderful times hiding and racing around it with our children and dogs. It’s wonderful to nap under on a sunny summer day. A raccoon lives in it and last summer a family of baby owls perched in it while their mother called from another tree. Behind it are a row of evergreens that our parents had the forethought to plant for us when we first moved here 26 years ago.”
Aparna — Ta Som Temple in Angkor, Cambodia
“To me, this Banyan tree stands as a symbol of resilience. Much like Cambodia, this tree has survived while empires fell and civilizations died out. While the French occupied the country. While the Khmer Rouge hacked their way across the land. Through it all, this tree stood tall.”
Julie — Charleston, South Carolina
“My favorite tree is the Angel Oak on Johns Island, S. Carolina, near Charleston. It’s my favorite because she’s old and has seen more than me. People have protected her and taken care of her. It shows what we can do if we put our minds to it.”
Emily — Boston, Massachusetts
“This is my favorite tree in the South End of Boston. It towers over the rest of the neighboring trees, its branches casting comforting shadows on those who pass underneath. She is always the first to show the signs of the changing seasons, and remains stoic and beautiful through wind and rain. Some days I go out of my way to visit her. Somehow I feel smaller standing next to her than I do standing next to one of the city’s skyscrapers. She’s seen it all. She’s watched the families who have come and gone, the buildings toppled and rebuilt, the streets cobblestoned then paved. She’s a reminder of who was here first — Mother Nature. She demands respect, and respect and adore her, we do.”
Raquel — Mill Valley, California
“The splendor of the trees at Muir Wood reminds us of how majestic they are in our lives, after all they are our oxygen.”
Isabel — Sparks, Nevada
“My favorite tree is a Joshua tree located in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada. This particular tree, and the moment I captured, has particular significance to me because I saw it on a road trip when I was moving from Las Vegas back to my home in Washington state. I thought the desert tree looked so magical & majestic surrounded by snow – something I had never seen before. It felt like a good omen — like I was making the right decision in moving back home. I’ll never forget it.
Bruce — Arlington, Virginia
As one of the early-blooming native trees, redbuds are important for pollinators. This tree is a magnet for bees in the spring. This tree is important to me because it attracts so many bees, this flowering tree represents the importance of protecting and promoting native species for pollinators.
Peggy — Oregon
“Trees are everything to me! They are alive and free and give me clean air to breathe! They give me shade to sit in when it is hot outside. They give birds and other critters and creatures places to live, and die. They give me comfort when I am, or feel alone. They hide me when I need to hide. My Dad’s name was Forrest. He was a cabinet and furniture maker making beautiful items that still give me joy to see today, even though he has been gone for 13 years. He taught me to see the grains and beauty of the trees from the inside out. He never wasted a piece of wood. He taught me not to see the forests for the trees, but for the benefits the tress themselves give, while they are alive and living among us. Gentle giants, some of them. Others, just tiny forest friends. Trees are my family, perhaps more so than the humans that walk around them.”
Garth — Dryden, Ontario
“I have travelled throughout North America and always seem to be drawn to take pictures of trees. From the giant Sequoia to the Tundra Spruce to the Date Palms.
My favourite tree though is actually in my front yard. When we moved into this house back in 2000 I told my late wife that I was going to cut it down and that it seemed like a bit of a weed, but for some reason I did not.
It is a beautiful mountain ash that turns to fantastic colours in the fall. It flowers huge white flowers every spring and then yields thousands of berries that attract birds. It provides beautiful shade every hot summer day and is a measure I use to gauge how tough a winter we are having depending on the depth of the snow in relation to the first crotch in the tree.
I lost my dear wife to cancer last April. Every time I get home I look to my house as I turn the corner and the first thing that comes to view is that big tree and am reminded of the day I said I was going to cut it down and the question my wife asked was why? I think that because I could not come up with a proper reason is why it stands today. A testament to the love I have for my wife and the reason why we keep our trees.”
HOW TO TAKE ACTION TODAY
Trees deserve more credit for all the amazing things they do for us. Show your thanks right now by supporting a Stand For Trees project of your choice. Each Stand For Trees Certificate you purchase supports a specific forest community so the trees remain protected and are worth more alive than dead. Read about all of the incredible work happening around the globe and stand up for a forest now.
HOW IT WORKS
Purchasing Stand For Trees Certificates is one of the most effective actions an individual can take to halt deforestation and combat climate change. Here’s how it works:
You buy a Stand For Trees Certificate — a unique, high-quality, verified carbon credit that protects a specific endangered forest and offsets a tonne of CO2 from entering the earth’s atmosphere. Because of your purchase, forests are left standing to do what they do best — store carbon, produce oxygen, provide habitat, and support local communities.
Independent certification teams approved by Code REDD and USAID monitor each project and help local communities become stewards of their forests to halt deforestation, protect critical wildlife habitat, and shift the economic model so forests are more valuable alive than dead.
Share your participation with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter — through our collective action, we change the economics of deforestation, do something meaningful to curb climate change, and support life on earth.
Trees stand for us, it’s time to stand for trees!