By Dana Niland
Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Sustainable Development announced that its Department of Forests and Lands would be holding a tree planting exercise in celebration of World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) on June 17.
The project is set to yield over 100 trees.
The 2015 theme of WDCD is “the attainment of food security for all through sustainable food systems,” backed by the slogan, “No such thing as a free lunch. Invest in healthy soil.”
Desertification is particularly problematic in Saint Lucia due to the illegal cultivation of crops in its forest reserves.
The Forests and Lands Resources Department aims to educate the public about the issues of loss of topsoil and plant-life depletion through a series of media interviews and features, along with school presentations and tours.
Through WDCD, the department hopes to incite a change in land use practices through sustainable agricultural methods and adaptation to climate change.
WDCD also highlights the importance of access to technology and land rights for small holder farmers who provide food to millions of households.
It also seeks to highlight the need for investment in sustainable land practices for the promotion of sustainable food systems, as well as the need for finding a balance in land use for ecology and consumption.
All of these objectives serve to combat desertification– the effects of which, though not readily visible to all, are central to issues of food and water scarcity and environmentally-forced migration.
St Lucia’s Forest and Lands Resources Department is urging its citizens to get informed and involved in the fight against desertification, as it is a crucial step towards the achievement of sustainable development.