Bogor, (ANTARA) - Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya emphasized the importance of raising people's awareness over protecting forests in her statement to mark this year's International Day of Forests on Thursday.

"Forests are one of our important life support systems, so it is important for us to manage forests sustainably. Sustainable forest management can only be achieved through the better understanding of forests," she was quoted as saying by the FAO's press statement.

Education and training are necessary to raise awareness among forest users and the general public of forests and forestry, she said, adding that through education and training, qualified human resources to manage forests and the environment were created.

Forest education helps children connect with nature. The process will create future generations who are conscious about the benefits of trees and forests and the need to manage them sustainably, she was further quoted as saying in the FAO's press statement that Antara received in Bogor on Thursday.

In connection with this International Day of Forests, which is commemorated on March 21 every year since the UN General Assembly proclaimed the date in 2012, the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO's) contribution to the education and training of Indonesian foresters is obvious.

The FAO is helping Indonesian foresters learn how to use the latest satellite technology to ensure that Indonesia's forests are monitored and managed sustainably. Rural and indigenous communities also have vital experience and knowledge on how to protect forest resources and ensure they are managed and harvested sustainably.

According to Adam Gerrand, Acting FAO Representative in Indonesia, countries could help ensure scientists, policy makers, foresters, and local communities work to halt deforestation and restore degraded landscapes by investing in forestry education at all levels.

"In turn, healthy forests will help us achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals," Gerrand said in his statement to mark this year's commemoration of the International Day of Forests highlighting the theme, "Forests and Education".

The FAO noted that as the world population climbs to 8.5 billion by 2030, the role of forests becomes more important than ever. Forests help keep air, soil, and water healthy, and enable people to become happier and more prosperous.

The forests cover one third of all land on earth and are a fundamental part of a global ecosystem. They provide timber, food, fuel and medicines, for more than a third of the world's population. Forests also protect the natural environment. They absorb 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, helping reduce climate change.

Reporter: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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