Jamaica’s Tree Planting Drive

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Above: Environment Minister Robert Pickersgill at the Tree Planting Day

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica is planning to distribute 75,000 seedlings this year to replenish the country’s forests, according to Environment Minister Robert Pickersgill.

The distribution comes after 31,000 seedlings were distributed last year.

“I cannot emphasize enough just how important our trees and forests are to life here on earth,” Pickersgill said last week at a National Tree Planting Day Exercise in St James. “Indeed, by planting trees, we plant the foundation for life for generations to come. As American Poet Lucy Larcom says, ‘He who plants a tree, plants a hope.'”

Doing so also helps combat the impact of climate change, which continues to threaten the countries of the Caribbean region, he said.

“Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which we all need to survive and they clean the air by trapping dust and smoke particles,” he said. “As such, they are critical to reducing the prevalence of carbon dioxide, which is one of the greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change and its attendant impacts.”

Jamaica is not alone in its reforestation drive — Haiti, which has suffered from serious deforestation over the past few decades, has also embarked on a major initiative to replenish its forests.

“In meeting human needs, we must preserve our forests so that these needs can be met, not only for present, but for future generations,” Pickersgill said. “To do so, we must all play our part.  Persons, who utilize wood for commercial or economic activities such as furniture making, construction and the production of charcoal, must ensure that as they utilize our trees, measures are put in place to replace them. Developers must ensure that while their buildings go up, our trees that come down must be replanted.”