The government of Zimbabwe is marking its commitment to the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration. This is reflected in the theme chosen for the 2021 National Tree Planting Day, "Trees and Forests for Ecosystem Restoration and Livelihood Improvement". In this vein, the southern African country wants to reach the milestone of 25 million trees planted by 2021.
Zimbabwe is in the midst of the UN decade for ecosystem restoration. The decade 2021-2030 is the last deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to scientists, to avoid catastrophic climate change. That is why the UN office is calling on all countries of the world to unite during this decade to protect and restore ecosystems for the benefit of nature and people. This decade aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems and restore them in order to achieve global goals.
In response to this call, the Government of Zimbabwe is placing the celebration of its 2021 National Tree Planting Day (held every first Saturday in December), under the banner of ecosystem restoration. “Trees and forests for ecosystem restoration and improved livelihoods”. The Zimbabwe Forestry Commission intends to plant a total of 25 million trees by the end of this year. As of September 2021, the Director General of the Forestry Commission, Abedinigo Marufu, said that 12 million trees had been planted.
More than 262,000 hectares of land are degraded each year
Land degradation is a reality in Zimbabwe. According to figures from the Forestry Commission, the country loses an estimated 262,349 hectares of land each year, mainly through deforestation. This affects the livelihoods and food security of rural populations.
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It is in this context that the reforestation campaigns dedicated to the national day of planting of trees intervene. “In our daily activities, we sensitize people on the importance of planting trees. We have also urged farmers to practice agroforestry in their plantations to improve the condition of their crops and participate in forest management,” said Abedinigo Marufu, the director general of the Forestry Commission.
To achieve this year’s reforestation target, the Forestry Commission launched a public sector tree planting competition on November 3rd, 2021. To win prizes, contestants share their tree planting photos and videos and share knowledge about trees or forests.
In 2020, the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission set a target of 20 million trees, but only managed to plant 16 million.