HARARE – At least 20 percent of the country’s 350 000 hectares of forests have been lost to tobacco curing.
There will be a deficit of timber in 20 years if we don’t do something.
Tree planting is the most popular and visible effort undertaken by citizens, government, business and civil society.
A national greening programme needs to be urgently rolled out countrywide with a grand objective: undo centuries of deforestation by planting millions of trees.
Other than this five-year master plan, some tree-planting objectives are less ambitious but no less essential.
Between 9,5 and 10 million trees were planted last year, mainly seedlings of fruit-bearing trees along city streets and in idle city lots.
Tree-planting activity must target the involvement of all citizens.
We applaud Rukweza High School’s Tree Seedling Nursery and Nyaradzo Group’s role in all this.
This achievement should encourage not just other citizens and leaders but everyone to undertake tree planting to duplicate or better the feat.
Only by ensuring that planted seedlings survive and thrive can tree planting move out of the realm of a pictorial-perfect greening opportunity to a concrete step in rolling back deforestation.
As a nation, we must ensure seedling survival though it is not the only important concern in tree planting but choosing the right species as well.
The importance of forests to local and global ecosystems is well-known.
Unfortunately, the percentage of the earth’s surface covered by forests is dropping annually at alarming rates, and here in Zimbabwe, 20 percent of the forests are gone, mainly to tobacco farmers.
The farmers bear a heavy responsibility to stop this deforestation by planting trees.
We need massive afforestation efforts.
Every tobacco farmer must plant at 100 trees for every tree they cut down.
We should have more trees at the end of the 21st century than we had at the beginning of the century.
Planting trees next to water sources and along watercourses is an inexpensive and ecologically sound way of helping to alleviate the acute problem of polluted water resources, and thereby increasing the supply of clean drinking water.
Trees are natural water purifiers, saving millions of dollars invested in costly purification plants.
The State needs to help private players such as Nyaradzo in its afforestation efforts by forcing citizens to plant trees in Zimbabwe today!
Community groups, schools and individuals are all invited to get involved with tree planting, especially as we approach the first week of December traditionally reserved for tree planting.
Whether planting a single tree in your back garden, joining in a local community event or helping to create one of the woods, your name will be recorded as part of the legacy.
So plant a tree.