The Botanic Garden of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz inaugurates regional activities for the "International Year of the Forests 2011" with a specially themed guided tour on March 27. The Mainz section of BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) and the Rhineland-Palatinate section of the Association for Conserving German Forests are also participating with various targeted activities as part of the national campaign to mark the Year of the Forest.
(Arboretum in the Botanic Garden at the University of Mainz | Photo: Thomas Hartmann)
(Mainz, March 21, 2011). The United Nations have declared 2011 as the "International Year of Forests." "This worldwide initiative has the goal of raising awareness of the importance of sustainable management, conservation, and sustainable development of the world's forest resources for the benefit of current and future generations," says the United Nations. Germany's contribution to this initiative is coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection (BMELV). Federal President Christian Wulf is the patron. In addition to federal, state, and local authorities, over 60 associations for nature preservation, economics, and society are taking part in activities throughout Germany. In Mainz, there will be a wide variety of informative activities throughout the year, initiated by the Botanic Garden of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, by the Mainz section of BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany), and the Rhineland-Palatinate section of the Association for Conserving German Forests. All activities have as their motto "Discover our forest heritage." It starts Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 11 a.m. with a guided tour of the Botanic Garden themed "More than just Wood - the Significance of Forests to Humans."
Germany is a forest country: around a third of its surface area, some 11.1 million hectare, is covered in forests. And over the past 40 years, the forest area in Germany has actually increased by about 10 percent¬. But in many regions of the world, deforestation continues at a rapid pace. This has serious implications for the quality of human life, for biodiversity, and for the climate of the world. Deforestation accounts for up to 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. "With our events, we want to draw attention to the multifaceted role of forests," explains the curator of the Botanic Garden, Ralf Omlor. "The German campaign takes the forest heritage which is so much part of our culture as its basis. The way forests influence our culture and way of life and the way our society influences the forests should both be made clear."
The Botanic Garden of Mainz University, which maintains one of the most diverse collections of wood resources with its arboretum, is placing the International Year of Forests 2011 at the center of its events calendar. Eight differently themed guided tours from March through October 2011 will present the many biological facets and the importance of forests and their biodiversity in a manner that is both exciting and entertaining. Additional courses can be booked via the Green School in the Botanic Garden. Every month on its website, the Botanic Garden also showcases a forest plant with an unusual story to tell .
But it is not only the Botanic Garden of Mainz University which is involved in the campaign for the International Year of Forests. The Mainz section of BUND (German Friends of the Earth) and the Rhineland-Palatinate section of the Association for Conserving German Forests are also offering excursions in Mainz and other activities to celebrate the Year of the Forests.
All activities which take place in Germany for the International Year of the Forests are summarized on the Internet pages of the German campaign www.wald2011.de . These pages also contain comprehensive information on the topic of forests in Germany and an opportunity for all amateur photographers to take part in the national photo contest "What would our lives be like without forests?"