Tree planting campaigns are bearing fruit across the world – World
This year’s World Environment Day, which was celebrated on Saturday, was a good reminder of the growing cloud of climate change. With a massive project to plant trees in full bloom, Pakistan had good reason to be the global host country to help kick off the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.
Thanks to Pakistan’s national Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project, officially launched in 2018, the country is celebrating a milestone not only by completing the planting of one billion trees by this month as part of the campaign, but also by achieving the goals of the United Nations for Sustainable Development. Development goals.
Much like China, Pakistan has over the years generated public interest and participation in the implementation of huge tree-planting projects, which are politically popular and in the media, and often feature startling numbers.
The Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project is an extension of a tree-planting campaign launched in 2014 modeled on China’s “Great Green Wall” reforestation effort. The program aims to revive Pakistan’s forest and wildlife resources, improve the overall conservation of protected areas, and encourage ecotourism, community engagement and job creation through conservation.
The first phase of the project, running from 2019 to 2023, is being implemented across Pakistan by the Ministry of Climate Change as well as the provincial and territorial forestry and wildlife departments. Thanks to this program, the goal of greening nearly 860 million plants on 381,374 hectares of land had been reached by the end of April. The program also features the country’s first “green bond” and decisions on protecting marine areas.
The benefits of tree planting are well understood by the Pakistani public nowadays, as increasing land cover prevents land degradation, improves aquifers and invites wildlife to return, all effective measures to restore our land. overloaded ecological system.
Equally effective is the Three North China Forest Program, the official name of the Great Green Wall project, which was launched in 1978 in 13 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in the vast regions of the northeast, north and north-west of the country. Stretching 4,500 kilometers, the Great Green Wall, perhaps the largest ecological project in history, provides for the planting of more than 3.6 million hectares of forest.
To build this “wall”, Beijing launched a two-pronged plan: using aerial seedlings to cover large swaths of land where the soil is less arid, and paying farmers to plant trees and shrubs in areas that require it. more attention. A $ 1.2 billion monitoring system, consisting of mapping databases and land monitoring, was also put in place.
The results of the Great Green Wall are evident from the fact that the project has already reduced the frequency and magnitude of sandstorms, stabilized the amount of desert land and even increased rainfall.
In addition, artificial reforestation has provided financial stability to many previously impoverished communities in the respective regions. Public investments in related infrastructure have also contributed to overall regional development.
Likewise, the Pakistani Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project has created more than 100,000 jobs with World Bank assistance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, forestry and wildlife departments provided green jobs through green incentives to around 85,000 daily workers under the tree planting program.
It is high time we realized that the global challenge of climate change requires collective efforts and cooperation to limit its effects. A nation cannot control climate change on its own, because the problem does not respect borders. This helps explain why, across Asia, more and more countries are joining tree planting projects, including India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
After facing extreme weather conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, consumers have made one thing clear: They want a more sustainable world.
As greenhouse gas emissions and overexploitation of natural resources lead to an increase in temperature which leads to flooding, droughts, sea level rise and other destructive events, the planting of trees and reducing tree cutting can reverse this destruction and help prevent disasters, apart from making our homelands more beautiful.
It is encouraging that a recent report from China to the United Nations indicates that the efforts “will end the expansion of new human-caused desertification” within a decade. By 2050, much of the drylands can be restored to a productive and sustainable state, according to the report.
Yet states often make climate promises, but leave the promises hanging and end up ignoring climate change.
Hopefully, the launch of the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration will pool the resources of all governments, international organizations and private companies to prevent, stop and reverse ecosystem degradation around the world.
Just as President Xi Jinping pointed out in his congratulatory letter to this year’s World Environment Day events in Islamabad, the world is a community of destiny where everyone is in the same boat. Thus, the ecosystem can only be successfully restored and preserved when everyone participates in it.
A good start for each of us is to plant one more tree or help grow one more tree.
The author is a social scientist, researcher and public policy analyst based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Opinions do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.