International Day of Forests

March 21

Forests are essential for planetary health and human well-being

Forests cover nearly one-third of the Earth’s land surface and provide people with goods such as timber, fuel, food and fodder, help combat climate change, protect biodiversity, soils, rivers and reservoirs, and serve as areas where people can get close to nature.

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

Elements of the forest


Forest Therapy Mary Bell northern Sydney butterfly
Butterfly resting on the leaf litter

Soil for planetary health

Soil is a vital resource for the planet and is full of life


It provides:

  • a special microbiome for fungi and bacteria and life on the forest floor
  • provides life to trees and plants as it grows
  • absorbs water in the water cycle
  • helps to purify water
  • home to animals that live within and on the soil

Soil for nature connection and wellbeing

Soil provides so many wellness benefits to humans:

  • The smell of soil helps us connect back to memories of planting and playing in soil
  • Soil is full of beneficial microbes for human health
  • Feeling different textures of soil helps us to reconnect a sense of touch and understanding more about their structure
  • The sounds of sloshy mud evokes feelings of childhood play and brings up a sense of delight
  • Watching creatures move through the soil is relaxing


Trees are threads of the forest

Trees for planetary health

Trees are the threads of the forest

They are full of life



  • are home to animals
  • produce oxygen
  • timber
  • medicines
  • smells
  • grow food
  • protect soil

Trees for nature connection and wellbeing

Trees are amazing to experience for nature connection.


  • are beautiful to see in nature
  • wonderful to respect their resilience and adaptations
  • have an array of bark textures to touch
  • appreciate the shapes and role of leaves in photosynthesis
  • smell the phytoncides from trees for health benefits
  • have flowers to smell and admire
  • have products like teas (made from leaves)- inspire our tastebuds
  • have sounds from leaves rustling and creaking branches
  • have an importance to contemplate


Water dragon sunning on a branch

Animals for planetary health

The variety of forest animals species contribute to biodiversity



  • are a vital part of food webs and food chains
  • contribute to plant life cycles through pollination
  • make their home and habitat in trees
  • are interconnected to the forest environment

Animals for nature connection and wellbeing

Humans desire connection and understanding of animals. Moments in nature connecting to animals contribute to our wellbeing by:

  • understanding the range of biodiversity
  • watching behaviours of animals helps deepen our understanding and connection
  • seeing animals in their natural environment, especially when it is unexpected gives us a sense of wonder
  • exploring the different textures of fur, feathers or scales different.
  • the wonder evoked from animal sounds.
  • smells of animals help us understand their behaviours and uniqueness



Air for planetary health

AIR is fundamental to life for:


This includes:

  • fresh clean air
  • life to animals
  • flight path for animals
  • oxygen for life and breath

Air for nature connection and wellbeing

We can benefit from air by

  • gazing up
  • slowing down our breath
  • gazing at clouds
  • gazing at the sky
  • feeling air on our face
  • breathing in scent carrried by air – like those of phytoncides


Migratory birds circuit at Stockton Sandspit
Flocks of migratory birds circuit at Stockton Sandspit

Water for planetary health

Water is vital to the life of the forest through:

  • Water cycle
  • Habitat for animals and plants
  • Hydration for animals and plants
  • Water for human health and hydration

Water for nature connection and wellbeing

Spending time with water has so many health benefits.

These include:

  • sounds of water falling is relaxing
  • reflections provide a new way of viewing nature around you
  • movement of water can be mesmorising to watch
  • fun to touch and splash
  • the taste and texture of water is refreshing

There are so many benefits to spending time in nature.

Come join us on a forest therapy walk soon.

You may also like...