JIS News

The Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture will celebrate its National Timber Tree Planting Day on Friday, October 8.
Director of Technical Services at the Forestry Department, Keith Porter told JIS News that tree-planting which is at the core of the department’s operation, has taken on added importance in the wake of Hurricane Ivan, which decimated large portions of forests and trees, both in the urban and rural areas.
He informed that preliminary assessment of the situation has shown that extensive damage has been sustained, and that the department was in the process of compiling a plan to carry out detailed field checks to quantify the damage. In this, he said, it was hoped to enlist the assistance of international partners, to salvage some of the damaged material, which would then be sold; and the revenue utilized.
He noted that at the same time, plans were being made to re-establish much of the forests, using species that were suitable for the various forest areas.”I think this really highlights the event this year, as part of the national reconstruction to really plant back as many trees as possible,” Mr. Porter said. This year it is projected that some 10,000 to 12,000 seedlings from a wide variety of species will be distributed, in comparison with 7,000 last year. The Director encouraged all Jamaicans to assist in the restoration of “Jamaica’s forests and tree cover”.
He said while in recent years the importance of forests has been highlighted more cogently, there was still a need for the country to recognize the important roles that trees and forests played in the protection of water and biodiversity resources, as well as in the productive and economic capacity of the country through the provision of wood for construction and other purposes.
“A well established forest and tree cover will enhance the country’s potential as a tourism destination,” he added.
Activities for the Day will include mini tree-planting projects being undertaken in the Eastern, Western and Central regions.
Additionally, the department has enlisted over 400 schools, community groups, service clubs, and companies islandwide to be involved in the tree- planting events.
A formal launch for the Day will be held on Wednesday, October 6, at King’s House in Kingston, where Governor General, His Excellency Sir Howard Cooke will make a proclamation.
The Director appealed to Jamaicans to contact the Forestry Department at its 931-2636, 924-2667-8 numbers to establish their projects and request the needed seedlings.

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