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The Ten Million Trees

The Ten Million Trees Programme The Forestry Branch of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has set an ambitious target that will make communities greener, cooler, more biodiverse, less susceptible to soil erosion and contribute to South Africa’s campaign to tackle the effects of climate change. Trees play an important role in the development and sustainability of South African communities. They form part of the green infrastructure that provides goods and services which include food, shade, medicine, soil-erosion control, biodiversity conservation and protection. Trees further help reduce the negative impacts of climate change which is currently a critical environmental challenge in South and the world. Greening is one of the key functions of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE). It is an integrated approach to the planting, care and management of all vegetation in urban and rural areas to secure multiple benefits for communities. Ten Million Trees is one of the recent initiatives of the Forestry Branch of DFFE. The programme emanates from the Million Trees concept that was established in 2007. The Million Trees Programme commenced an initiative that brought different stakeholders in the greening space together to collaborate and plant at least onemillion trees annually. This collaboration has ensured that over the years the target has been exceeded on an annual basis. The announcement in 2021 by the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa of a target to plant Ten Million trees in the next five years was a confirmation and recognition of the work that DFFE and its greening partners have done. The Ten Million Trees Programme was officially launched in the North West Province during the commemoration of the 2021 National Arbor Month Campaign, and 11 000 trees were planted at low-cost residential areas to officially commence the programme. The DFFE, in consultation with its stakeholders, resolved to plant two-million trees per annum beginning from the 2021/22 fiscal year. Diverse initiatives To reach the target of planting 10-million trees over a five-year period, the programme has been incorporated and promoted through various greening initiatives within the Forestry Management Branch. These include the International Day of Forests, National Arbor Month and the Arbor City Awards. These greening campaigns focus on working closely with South African municipalities and their communities to take part in planting trees to address environmental and socio-economic needs. Previously, the Forestry Management Branch focused mainly on tree planting in residential settlements, recreational facilities, parks and open spaces in line with Local Government Greening strategies and plans. However, the planting of the 10-million trees will need the DFFE to look at this initiative in a broader context if greening is to address issues of climate change, beautification, improving the aesthetics of surroundings, rehabilitation of degraded areas, food security and the creation of sustainable settlements, among other issues. This broader context provides a good platform for the various branches in the department to have a specific role and niche and to align interventions with the achievement of the bigger goal.

ENVIRONMENT A countrywide programme to clear alien plants not only preserves water by removing thirsty aliens, it also provides employment opportunities and prepares the ground for hardier indigenous trees and shrubs. Clarion Call The Ten Million Trees Programme is not only a DFFE programme, but it belongs to all South Africans, hence the initiation of the Clarion Call to all South Africans to participate in the programme. The DFFE is asking South African individuals and communities, corporate organisations, non-governmental organisations and educational institutions to plant indigenous and fruit trees that are suitable for the areas they live in, for a cause that is important to them. This could include planting trees to mark an important event; to attain food security; to fight the effects of climate change; to promote biodiversity and natural heritage and to beautify their residential areas and cities. The South African community has started supporting of the Ten Million Trees Programme. Long may that support continue to grow! For Enquiries: Contact Small Scale Forestry Directorate Mr Tebogo Mathiane: 012 309 5712 Mr Michael Modise: 012 309 5787 Ms Nosipho Ndzimbomvu: 012 309 5883 South Africans are enthusiastically taking up the challenge to plant trees.

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