The Forestry Department partnered with several organisations and groups to plant over 11,000 trees across the island in observance of National Tree Planting Day (NTPD) on Friday, October 7, under the theme, “Restoring Jamaica, One Tree at a Time; Plant a Tree Today”.
The organisations and groups that participated included the Jamaica Energy Partners, which planted approximately 300 seedlings on 1.13 hectares of land in the Blue Mountain 2 Forest Reserve in St. Thomas; the Spring Field Community Development Committee, which planted over 700 trees in the communities of Bournemouth Gardens, Manley Meadows, Springfield and Rockfort; Bartley’s All in Wood; Tip Friendly Society in Manchester; The Lions Club; the Jamaica Observer; Carreras Limited; as well as several educational institutions.
Speaking at the National Tree Planting Day ceremony and project at the Ebony Park Agro Park in Clarendon, Senator the Honourable Matthew Samuda, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, underscored the importance of trees to the country’s climate change mitigation plan, noting that the stability of our ecosystem, biodiversity and rainfall is hinged on tree cover.
“We have already committed to the globe that we are going to decrease our rate of carbon production. To both satisfy our international responsibilities and moral obligations and to manage our microclimate, we must increase our tree cover,” Senator Samuda said.
Meanwhile, in his NTPD message, CEO & Conservator of Forests, Mr. Ainsley A. Henry, said there is a close link between the well-being of a society and the quality of its environment. He says environmental degradation has and continues to have far-reaching impacts across our country, the region and the world in many sectors important to society. However, he says it is not all doom and gloom for Jamaica.
“We can do our part by restoring Jamaica, by building its defences against climate change and managing our generation and disposal of solid waste… We can take charge from today, and we can start by planting trees …The National Tree Planting Initiative has this as one of its key objectives. If you join the effort by planting at least one tree towards the three million trees target, you will be contributing to securing a more climate-resilient future for us and the next generation,” the message read.
In the meantime, Mr. Owen Scarlett, Acting CEO Agro-Investment Corporation, managers of the Ebony Park Agro Park, says the planned incorporation of the trees into the crop and animal farming systems on the Agro-Parks and Production Zones will create environmental, economic, and social benefits for those in the local environs and Jamaica as a whole.
“These fifty-plus trees, which will include fruit, ornamental and timber trees, will increase the resilience of our environments, help minimise climate change effects and improve national food security. The objective is to have Jamaicans make a voluntary contribution towards global climate resilience. The goal, using the nation’s population as a guideline, is for at least one tree to be planted for each Jamaican, on both private and public lands, and Agro-Invest has joined in to play a significant part,” he said.
National Tree Planting Day aims to promote the value of trees and, by extension, forests while providing an opportunity for everyone to contribute to increasing the island’s tree cover and beautifying the surroundings by planting trees. This year, the Agency partnered with the Agro-Investment Corporation to plant trees in the Ebony Park Agro Park in Clarendon. All the trees planted for NTPD will count towards the ‘Three Million Trees in Three Years’ National Tree Planting Initiative.