!Naruseb calls on Namibians to plant trees

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) Alpheus !Naruseb has called on Namibians to rededicate themselves to tree planting, protection and conservation to evade deforestation.

Speaking at the national Arbor day celebration in Omaruru on Friday, !Naruseb said it must be a collective and individual commitment in Namibia to reduce deforestation while promoting sustainable livelihoods for all forest dependent communities.

Globally, Arbor day provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forest and trees. Namibia has been celebrating this day for the past 27 years annually every second Friday in October on which Namibians are encouraged and motivated to plant trees.

!Naruseb said it is important for people to note that deforestation is mostly caused by the unsustainable conversion of forest land to agriculture and livestock areas, threatens not only the livelihoods of foresters, forest communities and indigenous peoples, but also the variety of life on planet.

The livelihoods and food security of many of the world's rural poor depend on vibrant forests and trees whereby around 250 million people live in forest and savannah areas. Access to forest products, goods and services is vital for the livelihoods and resilience of the poorest households, acting as safety nets in difficult times, he noted.

He further noted that this year's Arbor day is celebrated under the theme 'Forests enhance resilience to drought: plant trees to mitigate climate change risks' with the Tree of the Year being Baikiaea Plurijuga (Zambezi Teak).

The Namibian Government has declared Baikiaea Plurijuga (Zambezi Teak) as the Tree of the year 2019 due to its importance for environmental stability and socio-economic development, he said.

Zambezi Teak is widely used for commercial timber, poles and firewood. This tree species is mainly found in the Northern and North-eastern parts of Namibia in open woodlands. It is also found in neighbouring countries; Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana with a rainfall range of above 500 millimetres.

!Naruseb added that government has a very important role of protecting and managing forest through vigilantly patrolling the forests for illegal loggers, as well as the issuing of permits to ensure regulated and sustainable utilisation of forest resources.

During the celebration learners from schools in Omaruru performed poems preaching the importance of trees.

Source: Namibia Press Agency