Forests are ecosystems of vital importance for life, since they are conformed by trees and plants, they function as animal habitats, modulators of hydrological flows (part of the water we consume comes from forests), protect the soil (the lack of trees can cause droughts or landslides with serious consequences for the population), food providers and they are one of the main lungs of the planet, by capturing large volumes of carbon dioxide and converting it into oxygen. All of these benefits provided by forests are called ecosystem services.
However, each year we lose globally, large territorial extensions of forests. In 2017, according to data presented by Global Forest Watch, 29.4 million hectares of forest were lost to world level, which are twice the size of a country like Germany.
In crisis events due to health emergencies, such as the recent one presented by COVID-19, it is evident that our link with nature is often pernicious. This virus has a zoonotic origin (which passes from an animal host to a human host), as happened in the past with SARS, malaria, ebola, among others.
The World Health Organization has identified that 60% of the infectious diseases that humans suffer, derive from our consumption of animals that are in poor sanitary conditions, and more than 2/3 of them are caused by the consumption of wildlife. The loss of forests, the expansion of the urban border, the illegal trafficking of wild species for human consumption, are factors that cause these infectious diseases to have exponential growth and to generate high impacts on people's lives.
The New York Declaration on Forests (2014) committed countries like Mexico to stop deforestation by 2030. This means endless challenges to overcome for the countries to meet this goal. Scolel´te has been working for 23 years in a scheme of payments for ecosystem services provided by the owners of plots with forests, who commit to the restoration and reforestation of these plots, with the intention of expanding the forest frontier, in sites that are degraded or with a high risk of deforestation. The challenge is not small, it requires everyone's action, in order to conserve this important ecosystem.