National Arbor Week in South Africa - 1-7 September 2018
National Arbor Week is a time when South Africans of all ages celebrate the beauty and importance of trees and thousands are educated and made aware of the benefits of the many different aspects of forestry. For the sake of simplification, the term ‘forestry’ is divided into three different categories during National Arbor Week.
- Indigenous forests. These provide a home for wildlife as well as trees and herbs that can be used as natural remedies. They provide a barrier against soil erosion, sustain the environment and support wildlife in the area.
- Commercial forests. These are completely unnatural as they are man-made. However, their role is equally important since they not only provide people with jobs, but they also provide the wood which is needed in industry.
- Metropolitan forests. This refers to the trees, plants and lawns which are grown in cities and towns across the country. Without these small pieces of greenery amidst the concrete and brick, our environments would be dull and lifeless. Breathing would also be difficult since there would be little in our environment capable of producing fresh air for us to utilise.
During the course of National Arbor Week, South Africans are provided with a better knowledge of trees and how they affect their day-to-day lives, says Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA).
“Awareness about the dangers of forest fires is raised and emphasis is placed on the importance of the forestry industry and on trees in general. Trees are planted and landscapes are made greener. Many of the week’s events are organised by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF),” says Penfold.
Arbor Week affords the public the opportunity to be involved in "greening" their communities by planting trees and creating and encouraging environmentally-friendly human settlements.
“Greening” means that an integrated approach is followed to the planting, care and management of all vegetation in urban and rural areas, to secure multiple benefits for communities.
According to DAFF, this will take place in towns, townships and informal settlements specifically as these were once disadvantaged in terms of planning for parks as well as tree planting in streets and open spaces.