THE need to reverse harmful land use practices cannot be emphasised.
We stand to lose out if we do nothing about our environment which is threatened as a result of a number of human activities.
Our environment is threatened by activities like the unsustainable agricultural practices, inefficient charcoal production and over exploitation of some timber tree species.
It is the above activities that have led to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees, leaving our environment and let alone, the human population, at risk of the effects of climate change.
Scientists tell us that the poor rainfall pattern we experience in some of the rainy seasons is due to the cutting down of trees. The presence of trees in the environment is a blessing in many ways.
Trees create a cold and humid atmosphere, which is a pre-requisite for the rains.
They also prevent deforestation. When it rains, they hold the water and prevent it from passing over the soil to culminate into floods. That is why a number of areas that are devoid of trees are prone to floods.
Trees help to create a balanced eco-system as the oxygen from the trees is used by the animals in the atmosphere, as well providing food for animals.
The advantages of trees are many and this is why Vice-President Inonge Wina, during the launch of the 2017/2018 national tree planting season, was concerned about the illegal exploitation of forests.
Mrs Wina said Government is concerned about the continued high rate of illegal harvesting and trade of high value tree species, which she said if unattended to, could compromise the country’s development agenda.
It is against this background that Mrs Wina urged all districts to apportion at least 20 hectares of land for planting trees, among other activities.
A number of districts still have portions of land that can be set aside for this purpose. Starting this activity at district level is a good initiative that will see the entire province get involved in the tree planting exercise.
Apart from making the districts greener and bringing some benefits to the environment, the districts would accrue economic benefits from the sale of the trees once they are harvested.
For an exercise of this magnitude to succeed, it needs the support of all, leaders and residents in the district.
Like we have seen with the cleaning exercise in the wake of the cholera outbreak, the tree planting exercise should also involve individuals to take it upon themselves and plant trees, firstly in their surroundings.
It is also important to note that Mrs Wina spelt out a number of approaches such as getting schools and communities involved in planting trees to replenish our forests.
Inculcating such positive practices in children has positive benefits for the future because the practice becomes part of them.
As for communities, some of their activities are responsible for deforestation and it is important that they take part in replanting trees.
The replanting of trees will make them feel it is their responsibility to give back to the environment and in this way, they will work towards reducing the effects of climate change.