Luxembourg's Nature and Forest Agency (Administration de la nature et des forêts, ANF) has announced that this year’s celebration of the International Day of Forests, 21 March 2024, was dedicated to the theme “forests and health”.

During the pandemic, many people have rediscovered the forest as a place to recharge their batteries. Since then, the forest has never seen so many visitors, ANF noted. Walks or sporting activities in the forest such as jogging, mountain biking or horse riding in this natural environment which exudes calm and a particular climate, can contribute to relaxation.

In addition to enjoying the forest as a place of personal retreat, it is also important to keep in mind the health of the forests themselves, ANF emphasised. “We welcome the growing popularity of our local nature, but it is important to remember that we humans are just one player among many in the forest. It is our responsibility to protect the forest ecosystem and thus ensure that this natural resource is preserved in the future,” noted the director of the ANF, Michel Leytem.

In order to better illustrate this theme, the ANF organised an event in the Grünewald on Thursday, in collaboration with Luxembourg’s Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Biodiversity, the municipality of Steinsel and the various organisations of the local forestry sector (Privatbësch, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification - PEFC, Forest Stewardship Council - FSC, Pro Silva Luxembourg, Wood Cluster, Lycée Technique Agricole - LTA, Fondation Hëllef fir d'Natur). The demonstration took place in the presence of His Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duke.

During this event, stakeholders presented their points of view on aspects of health and well-being in forest environments. “The forest is a very sensitive ecosystem that provides us with many essential services. In addition, as a reservoir of water and a stock of carbon, whether in the soil or wood, the forest and trees are important allies in the fight against climate change. This is why I will actively commit to the protection of the forest and its services, in collaboration with the Nature and Forest Agency, municipalities and private forests,” said Luxembourg’s Minister of the Environment, Climate and Biodiversity, Serge Wilmes.

During a guided tour of one of the largest forest areas in Luxembourg, the Grünewald, participants discovered the exceptional natural heritage of this forest and the particular challenges linked to its conservation.

In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March as the International Day of Forests. Since this date, different countries have been invited each year to organise activities around a specific theme aiming to raise awareness among the general public of the multifunctional aspects of forests.