For this year’s observance of National Tree Planting Day (NTPD), the Forestry Department is urging persons to plant more trees in urban centers across the island given the high levels of carbon dioxide emission in those areas.
Also, with hundreds of hectares of forests affected by fires since the start of the year, persons living in and around the affected areas are also being urged to join in the cause of restoring the island’s forests by planting out these areas.
Chief Executive Officer and Conservator of Forests, Marilyn Headley, says this is critical considering the issue of climate change and the urgent need to implement measures to mitigate against the impacts.
“We are already feeling the impacts of climate change and one important step we can take to help mitigate against future impacts is preserving our Forests. As we know, our Forests play a major role in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the environment, as our trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide,” she said.
Miss Headley says the Agency remains committed to managing and conserving the island’s forest resources for the benefit of present and future generations and is calling on every Jamaican to play their part.
“Every Jamaican has a part to play in the conservation of our forests. One way to do that is by not cutting down the trees but if you cut a tree to replant two, that way, we are not merely maintaining the numbers but we are increasing our forest cover; also, for persons to desist from lighting fires near our forests. It is illegal, we continue to lose several hectares of our forests because of this reckless practice and it is contributing to the high levels of greenhouse gases in the air,” she said.
In the meantime, for NTPD which will be observed on Friday, October 2, the Agency will be hosting the official ceremony and the National Project at the St. Andrew Technical High School.
President of the National Leaders Association of the 4-H Clubs and Coordinator of the 4-H Programme at the St. Andrew Technical High School, Glenroy Williams, has welcomed the initiative, noting that is it a timely one.
“We have a lot of land spaces here that we want to plant out with fruit trees and just about any tree that can provide shade, which we are greatly in need of. We want our students to be able to sit under them (the trees) and have lunch and for teachers to be able to take their students outside and have classes. Sometime ago, we benefitted from a tree planting initiative where we received some Ackee trees and we are still reaping the benefits of that and so we anticipate the benefits of this initiative,” he said.
National Tree Planting Day will be observed this year under the theme, “Plant a Tree, Reduce Carbon ‘D’, with Carbon ‘D’ referring to Carbon Dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
Distribution of seedlings for National Tree planting Day begins on Wednesday, September 16 at all the Agency’s nurseries.