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National Arbor Week
September 1, 2014 @ 8:00 am - September 7, 2014 @ 5:00 pm
Yearly, from 1 to 7 September schools, organisations and businesses
participate in community “greening” events to improve the health and beauty of the local environment and develop a green future for South Africa.
Events are held around the country highlighting the benefits of planting and conserving trees to offset carbon emissions and for greening to improve the quality of life and uplift the environment, and communities.
The importance of trees
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen.
The natural carbon dioxide cycle keeps a balance in the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. But our actions and behaviours cause changes which upset this natural balance.
The creation of too many greenhouse gases causes an imbalance with heat
being trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, increasing the overall average
temperature resulting in global warming.
We produce excessive amount of carbon dioxide by burning coal and petrol (referred to as ‘fossil fuels’ or fossil energy) in our power plants, factories and cars, and in deforestation.
The destruction of rainforests and cutting down of other forests also affects the balancing act. By destroying Earth’s natural forestation we threaten our existence.
Planting trees is one of the most cost-effective ways offsetting our carbon
emissions. However we do need to do all we can to reduce our footprint on
the planet, and offset that which cannot be reduced by planting trees.
Trees play a vital role in rural and urban populations. They are needed to
enrich and anchor soil, to maximise water supplies, to beautify and humanise townships and urban areas and to provide shade and shelter.
They are also crucial for biodiversity conservation. Products and services from trees include food, timber, fibre, medicines and energy.
September is Arbor Month
Arbor Month promotes the planting and maintenance of indigenous trees throughout South Africa.
Arbor month provides stakeholders with the opportunity to raise awareness of South Africa’s urban greening initiatives and encourages all communities and businesses to participate in various greening activities. The youth are encouraged to participate in tree planting activities and related environmental education programmes.
It highlights the essential role trees play in sustainable development and
the livelihoods of people and their environment, now and for the future.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is responsible for The National Arbor Month campaign as this department is the custodian of forestry in South Africa. The aim of Arbor Month is to promote and create a better life for all.
Trees of the year
Every Arbor Week celebration highlights two or three specific trees, one common and one rare species.
In 2014 the trees being highlighted are:
- Common: Lavender Trees or Laventelbome (Genus Heteropyxis)
- Rare: White Ironwood or Witysterhout (Vepris lanceolata)
More info: Greenworks