Over 1200 seedlings were planted across the island in observance of National Tree Planting Day which was commemorated on Friday, October 1, under the theme, "Plant Trees: Restore Ecosystems and ReNew our Communities".
The trees were planted in partnership with a number of educational institutions, groups and private and public sector entities.
CEO & Conservator of Forests, Mr. Ainsley Henry commends all groups and institutions that played their part in helping to restore the critical building blocks of the environment and in strengthening communities to deal with the impacts of climate change.
"The responses of the Jamaican people and the various groups and organizations have shown that all is not lost and we are encouraging those who have not yet planted to contribute to restoration by planting as many trees as they can in as many places as they can. This will ultimately result in improved air and water quality, improved biodiversity and significant ecological resilience and productivity," Mr. Henry said.
He says that if done properly, tree planting and forest restoration can be a critical part of the global thrust to build back better post the Covid-19 pandemic and to achieve a net zero carbon world.
Mr. Henry is however warning that to plant is not enough, noting that the maintenance of seedlings must be prioritised so that the trees can become established and thrive. "It is in their success that we will succeed in building resilience and renewing our communities and restoring our ecosystems so as Wangari Maathai said, 'until you dig a hole, you plant a tree,
you water it and make it survive, you haven't done a thing, you are just talking," Mr. Henry shared.
In the meanwhile, he is expressing gratitude to the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica and New Fortress Energy, two of the latest partners under the National Tree Planting Initiative for facilitating ‘a buy one get one’ promotion for fruit tree seedlings.
"While stocks last, our customers who purchase fruit tree seedlings over the next few weeks will get another courtesy of New Fortress Energy," Mr. Henry said.
"I would also like to welcome aboard GB Energy Texaco Jamaica, who through access to their network will allow us to expand our reach to provide tree seedlings to more Jamaicans, taking the tree distribution component of the NTPI beyond our nurseries to many more communities island wide", he shared.
The partnership which started on October 1 will continue over six weeks and will see the Forestry Department team popping up at different Texaco gas stations across the island every Friday. Persons may follow the Forestry Department’s social media pages to find out the location for each Friday.
While distribution for National Tree Planting Day has ended, persons can still get select timber and ornamental seedlings at no charge in support of the National Tree Planting Initiative.
For more information, persons may visit the Forestry Department’s website, www.forestry.gov.jm, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 876-618-3205.