18 million trees planted in Fiji so far since 2019

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ANZ staffs during the tree planting in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FT FILE

Some 18,146,046 million trees and mangroves have been planted in Fiji since the establishment of the country’s landscape restoration program in September 2019.

According to the ministry, that accounts for 60 per cent of the 30 million seedlings the project hopes to plant over the 15-year period.

The Government – through the Ministry of Forestry – had targeted planting 30 million trees and mangroves in 15 years as it moves to combat the climate crisis and restore biodiversity.

The ministry stated that Fiji Pine Limited (FPL) and Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited (FHCL) were two companies that had contributed the largest planting target in the Reforestation of Degraded Forests (RDF) program; while visitors, communal landowners, and individual landowners planted the balance with technical guidance and assistance from the ministry.

FPL has planted 13,634,281 trees, while FHCL has planted 260,393 trees – the ministry stated.

And of the 18,146,046 trees, a total of 17,396,046 are trees (exotic, native, fruit and coastal species trees) and 750,000 are mangroves.

Acting Executive Director Operation Services George Vuki acknowledged companies, organisations, communities and individuals for supporting the planting program.

“One of the most powerful strategies for addressing the climate crisis and restoring biodiversity is tree planting. Inadequately planned reforestation and afforestation projects, however, have the potential to increase emissions and harm ecosystems even though trees are naturally efficient carbon capture and storage machines,” Mr Vuki said.

“We urge organisations and the general public to continue supporting the ministry’s tree planting efforts.”

The ministry also acknowledged the $2.5m budgetary allocation stating that tree planting activities would be strengthened further.

It stated that the funding allocated would be used to address challenges and ensure the survival of trees planted by undertaking extensive monitoring, enhancing quality seed collection, propagation, and planting protocols.

An additional $2m was also allocated for REDD+ and the Forest Emissions Reduction Program.

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