International Day of Forests is our chance to help restore the forests of South Africa or to green our neighbourhoods by planting trees at home.
South Africa (19 March 2021) – The 21st of March was designated as the International Day of Forests by the United Nations. The day is used to celebrate the forests of the world.
A forest plays an integral role in the environment. To start, it is a habitat for millions of living things, from birds and mice to monkeys and more. A forest then also provides the air we breathe, not all of it but a substantial amount. Lastly, a forest is an incredible renewable resource of wood. Forests also offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change.
It is for all these reasons that we need to protect our forests. This year the theme for the UN International Day of Forests is ‘Forest Restoration.
So what can you do to celebrate the International Day of Forests?
Easy, plant a tree.
You can plant a tree in your own garden, or you can purchase a tree from Greenpop, and they will plant it in a protected area in the process of being reforested. You can also buy a tree certificate for a loved one. To do that, you can get it here.
Greenpop works all over the country to plant trees. Since 2010, Greenpop has planted over 130,000 trees around South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Now they are hoping to plant 500,000 by 2025.
If you chose to plant a tree yourself, be sure to plant one indigenous to South Africa or plant a food tree at your local community food garden.
Here are a few tips for planting a tree.
- Consider the tree’s roots. Don’t plant a tree too close to a foundation, road or wall.
- Consider the tree species as well as the area where you plan to plant it. Trees will thrive when given the right environment. Don’t plant a young tree in a windy area without support, and don’t plant a tree in an area with minimal sunshine.
- If you chose to plant a food tree, be sure you know what it needs to bear fruit. If it needs pollinators, be sure to plant attractive flowers nearby to draw in pollinators. Some trees need to be planted in pairs as they need each other for pollination. You cannot plant citrus from seed as it won’t bear fruit true to seed; these trees are grafted.
- Soil is important, so if you dig a hole for your tree, add some organic compost to the soil removed from the hole and be sure to mulch the soil below your newly planted tree to ensure that it retains moisture. You also want to water your new tree deeply. You can do this by filling the hole with water before planting the tree.
- If you need help figuring out your perfect tree, reach out to your nearest nursery and ask them for help choosing the right tree.
Take a look at the UN’s 2021 message for International Day of Forests below.