Madagascar Will Plant 60 Million Trees, The Largest Reforestation In Its History

Madagascar. Image: Shutterstock.

Its president-elect is working to fulfill his electoral promise to recover the country’s forests and return the island green again.

Madagascar has started an ambitious project : the planting of 60 million trees in the coming months. The island celebrates 60 years of its independence and at the beginning of January it launched its largest reforestation campaign.

President Andry Rajoelina promised to recover the forests of Madagascar.

The government is challenged to make Madagascar a green island again. I encourage people to protect the environment and our forests, defending the future of future generations.

According to the Minister of the Environment of Madagascar, Alexandre Georget, in a few hours around 1 million trees had been planted on 500 hectares.

Madagascar is the fourth island in size, occupying an area of ​​59 million hectares and harboring a great diversity of fauna and flora. According to Global Forest Watch, between 2001 and 2018, the country lost 25% of its forests, mainly due to agricultural expansion.

The deforestation of the forests of Madagascar represents the extinction of many endemic species that are not found anywhere else on the planet.

Months of planning and a great national effort to accumulate seeds and produce seedlings culminated in the launch of the reforestation campaign, which was widely publicized in the country. The action counted with the participation of NGOs, schools, public organizations and the army.

The federal government wants 60 million trees to be planted on 40,000 hectares. Experts believe this would be a great achievement, especially in a country where nearly 80% of the population does not have access to the electricity grid and felling trees for domestic use is common practice.

This is not the first reforestation campaign in Madagascar, but the active participation of the new president makes the difference: many people say that they are inspired by his commitment and participate in the plantation for the first time.

The government is trying to strike a balance between native species and other species. Among them are fruit trees that can generate significant production in the future.

Reforestation Madagascar. Image: MyTravelCurator – Shutterstock.

To take the campaign to remote areas of the country, the government plans to use drones and planes. At the launch ceremony, an airplane dropped about 5 tons of seed balls over an area of ​​500 hectares. Each ball was composed of soil and 25 seeds and it is estimated that around 60% of them will germinate. According to the environment minister, this technique would eliminate the cost and environmental impact of the plastic bags used to transport the seedlings.

The planting of millions of seeds has created a climate of optimism and commitment in the country, but the campaign needs to be strengthened after its launch. The environment minister himself declared, after planting a tree, that he could not say that the seedling would survive. ” We can’t make an effort one day and give up the next .”

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