Home » Business and Economy » Why Do Forests Matter?
Future of Our Planet

Why Do Forests Matter?

woman showing children how to garden
Sponsored by:
woman showing children how to garden
Sponsored by:
Danika_Strecko

Danika Strecko

Senior Manager of Education, Project Learning Tree Canada


Forests are renewable, reliable, regenerative, and restorative. They also store carbon, help protect wildlife, and sustain communities by enabling diverse career opportunities and supporting mental and physical well-being. 

But not everyone knows, or understands, all the environmental, social, and economic values forests provide for our communities.

Project Learning Tree Canada’s (PLT Canada) Forest Literacy Framework is a free, bilingual resource that helps increase people’s understanding of forests and the importance of sustainable forest management — and empowers them to take actions that benefit forests and people. PLT Canada is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

PLT also offers the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide, with 50 hands-on, multidisciplinary activities to connect children to nature and increase young people’s awareness and knowledge about their environment. Watch this video to learn more!

Forest concept themes

The Forest Literacy Framework offers 100 forest concepts, organized into four themes:

What is a forest? Defining forests helps us appreciate their diverse ecosystems.

Why do forests matter? Connecting sustainably managed forests to our everyday lives helps us understand their value.

How do we sustain our forests? Detailing what goes into sustainable forest management shows us how it can meet the environmental, social, and economic needs of society.

What is our responsibility to forests? Teaching about how we can be good stewards ensures that we can sustain forests for generations to come.

Hot topics

Another way readers can learn about forest concepts is through the Forest Literacy Framework‘s connections to hot topics:

Climate Change: How can sustainably managed forests help address one of the most pressing global challenges we are facing?

Public Health: How do forests and trees help create healthy environments and restore ecosystems?

Urban Forests: How do urban forests provide key ecosystem services, like purifying water and air, that are essential to healthy human communities?

Green Jobs: How can rewarding green careers help instill a passion for the outdoors and mitigate climate change?

Wildfire: Why are vigorous and healthy forests more likely to withstand the effects of wildfire?

A sixth topic is also under development. Indigenous People and Connections to the Land will explore how Indigenous Peoples are leaders in sustainable forest management and place-based traditional knowledge.

Why is forest literacy important?

By gaining forest literacy, the public and K-12 youth acquire the tools and knowledge they need to keep our forests sustainable over the long term and are empowered to take actions that benefit forests and all of us — whether they are professionals in the sector, or just more knowledgeable consumers and members of society.

The Forest Literacy Framework translates the complex language of forests, trees, forest practices, and sustainable forest management into concepts that everyone should know by the time they graduate from high school. From climate change, to water quality, to biodiversity, well-managed forests provide viable solutions to many of the world’s most important sustainability challenges. PLT Canada’s free bilingual resource provides a framework for those who educate young people (in formal and nonformal settings, like parents, teachers, caregivers, and more) and those who work in Canada’s green sector to teach about forests and how we can become advocates for them.

Readers will learn how sustainably managed forests can:

Deliver ecosystem services

Provide renewable supply chains

Sustain communities and economies

Provide a place to learn and discover

Contribute to social and cultural benefits

Lower rates of asthma and respiratory illness

Lower temperature of urban heat islands

Develop new medicines

A guide to teaching and learning about forests

The Forest Literacy Framework is a tool you can use to educate people of all ages on the importance of our forests and sustainable forest management. Why do you think forests matter?


PLT Canada is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Next article