ROME, NOV 19 – From 2015 to 2020, forest cover in Italy increased by almost one percentage point (from 30.8 to 31.7 percent), more than in any other country in Europe, and above other countries traditional woodland vocation such as Germany (31 per cent) and Switzerland (31 per cent). This was announced in a statement by the NGO Ambiente Mare Italia (Ami), on the occasion of the National Tree Day, which is celebrated on Sunday 21 November. About 30 percent of the planet’s land is covered by woods, the NGO recalls, for a total extension of almost 4 billion hectares. However, FAO sources warn that on average 5.2 million hectares of woods and forests are lost every year. In 2019 alone, 26 million hectares were lost. According to the European Forest Fire Information System (Effis), 102,933 hectares of land were burned in our Peninsula from the beginning of the year to July. The situation has been worsening since August, due to the continuous fires that have hit the peninsula and in particular the South, reaching a total of 158,000 hectares. According to the 2021 Air Quality Report of the European Environment Agency (Aea), in 2019 our country was the first for the number of deaths from nitrogen dioxide, about 10,640 in 2019, and is the second after Germany for the risks from fine particulate PM2.5, 49,900 deaths. “Our country needs widespread and shared urban and peri-urban forestation policies – warns the President of Ami, Alessandro Botti -. Urban and peri-urban forests are the solution for combating nitrogen dioxide pollution and allow for a clear improvement in the quality of life “. (HANDLE).