Today the whole world is concerned with the growth of greenhouse gas emissions due to the burning of fossil fuels, resulting mainly from industrial activities and motor transportation; hence there is a buildup of the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
The carbon dioxide build up is made worse by the increasing loss of forests, which act as “carbon sinks” that absorb gases and prevent its release into the atmosphere.
Temperatures often continue to increase along with increased wind speeds which again result in loss of vegetation cover and hence, land becoming less and less feasible for habitats.
As this traditional resource base diminishes, obviously the traditional practices of cattle and goat farming no longer survive.
Trees are cut with impunity, and for many reasons, but most of them are related to money or to people’s need to provide for their families. The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture.
Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often many small farmers will each clear a few acres to feed their families by cutting down trees and burning them. Without trees, the soil erodes and slowly but surely washes away, causing farmers to move on and perpetuate the cycle.
Unfortunately, it is at this local level where deforestation has the most immediate effect. With forest loss, the local community loses the system that performed valuable but often under-appreciated services like ensuring the regular flow of clean water and protecting the community from floods and droughts.
There are already areas in Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world where people are now forced to live around government drilled bores for water and depend on government support for their very survival.
Food security is another issue for people residing in the deserts and they are on the frontline feeling the pinch of no trees, deforestation or generally environmental degradation.
In many instances, there are high level meetings that come out with high sounding resolutions including reports on these effects. Unfortunately these endeavours hardly mention the helpless victims of the circumstances who continue going beyond their control.
It is evident that there is a need to shift the focus so that local populace become primary actors within global climate change monitoring, adaptation and innovation.
They should be equipped with the knowledge and practices to cope with adverse environments.
The enhancement of everyone’s capacity is a key to the empowerment of local communities and their effective participation in environmental activities.
One great environmentalist once said, ‘It is not merely that the world is bettered by saving, replacing, and multiplying trees. It is that an aim of this kind becomes an impulse towards developing a mood and an outlook which will increasingly make it natural to think for the future, for other people, for generations yet unborn. Planting a tree is a symbol of a looking-forward kind of action; looking forward, yet not too distantly.’
Trees are the longest lived organism on the planet and therefore planting trees is an investment that creates a global ecological heritage for many hundreds of years.
We must demonstrate that we are seriously addressing our own environmental issues. Only then are we in a position to influence global environmental changes, like stunning the cutting down of rain forests.
Governments throughout the world have put the environment very firmly on their agenda.
They increasingly seek the involvement of communities and the private sector in plantation and forest development, and some are using a variety of direct and indirect incentives to stimulate tree planting.
Rwanda for example, this past weekend marked the 39th Tree Planting Day by beginning to plant 30,739,957 seedlings around the country. This event was held under the theme “Enhancing climate change resilience through agroforestry” and recognizes the role played by forests in the restoration of ecosystems and in enhancing climate change resilience.
The annual celebration of Tree Planting Day is a good opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of increasing forest resources especially at the very local level where these activities take place.
Various environment mainstreaming activities have so far increased awareness among the grass root community for environmental management and for sustainable development.
Quest for tree planting and environmental restoration is obvious in every corner of the world.
Understanding the degree to which trees actually maintain life on our planet is critical to our survival and a highly interesting subject when we learn the consequences.
In a nutshell, there is need to carefully manage forest resources to ensure that forest environments remain intact. The cutting that does occur should be balanced by the planting of enough young trees to replace the older ones felled in any given forest.
The number of new tree plantations should be growing each day and this is what will combat the nature’s wrath!