National, News

Environmentalists encourage citizens to embrace tree planting

By Kei Emmanuel Duku


South Sudanese have been encouraged to prioritize tree planting initiatives in their homes and community institutions.

The call comes during a tree planting program organized by Greening South Sudan at Emmanuel Parish Church in Juba.

South Sudan is at the moment grappling with high temperatures as consequences of tree cutting driven by a growing demand for wood fuel, shelter, and commercial timber.

George Dahirihe Bakiri, Logistics and Field Officer of Climate Action South Sudan Organizations said cutting down trees has contributed to environmental challenges and soaring temperatures.

“People in Juba are crying about the excessive heat, yet they don’t want to plant trees after cutting,” Dahirihe commented.

He cited that tree species such as teak and mahogany, are at risk of depletion if the trend is not revised by planting local trees that can be used for other domestic purposes.

“The principle of conversation is that you cut one and replace it with two or five so that you enjoy the environment,” he added.

Dahirihe noted that trees serve various purposes, such as medicine, providing shadow, and attracting rain, as well as being a source of oxygen.

“We are encouraging our communities to contribute positively to climate change by planting trees” Dahirihe stressed.

Operating both in Yumbio and Juba, the Climate Action South Sudan Organization, in partnership with the Government of Western Equatoria, planted over 1,500 different species of trees in various locations last year during the celebration to mark “Earth Day” and is expecting to plant another 1,500 trees this year on the Erath Day in April.

Dahirihe highlighted that, as they strive to conserve the environment, inadequate funding, limited seedlings, and the poor attitude of the communities towards tree planting are some of the challenges affecting their activities.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), South Sudan is endowed with diverse natural forests and woodlands covering over 190,000 KM2 (30%); however, the prolonged conflict has contributed to an average loss of 2% annually.

Garang Maquet Garang, founder of Greening South Sudan, has now embarked on tree planting programmes within Juba in order to restore the lost scenery.

Under the theme “Greening South Sudan,” on Wednesday Maquet planted three tree seedlings inside Emmanuel Parish Church in Juba, and his targets are schools, churches, hospitals, and mosques.

In the last three years, Maquet said he has already planted over 500 different trees in Juba.

He stated that in the next 10 years he intends to plant another 10 million trees.

He, however, attributed the low attitude among Juba residents towards tree planting to the high cost of buying seedlings, and watering during the dry season.

“Seedlings are not available and are very expensive; a single seedling can cost around 2,500–5,000 pounds, depending on the species. But the most challenging thing is the cost of fencing every seedling; sometimes the cost can be tripled. These are the things scaring people away from planting trees,” narrated Maquet.

Maquet further stated that trees, once planted, require frequent monitoring and supervision, especially during dry seasons.

He said in order to plant trees during the dry season, the hole has to be at least 2 feet deep, filled with loam soil, and after planting the seedlings, it needs to be covered with manure or sawdust and watered every evening to avoid evaporation.

“The loam soil has to be from any water hatchment areas. This is because it has a lot of food nutrients for the plants, and if you water the trees over the day, it will cause leaching, and the water will subsequently burn the roots of the seedlings,” he added.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Gbudue Gasi, Coordinator for Climate Action South Sudan Organisation, echoed the need for funding from both the government and other international organizations to create awareness among the communities so that they can understand the importance of planting trees and conserving the environment.

“In every home or family, if we can plant one or two trees, it can contribute a lot to sustaining our environment, but sometimes we are capped with funding, we cannot carry out awareness, and we can’t buy seedlings and distribute them to the local masses, so it’s very difficult to run our programmes,” he explained.

In recent years, the government has announced reforestation programmes and several other laws banning the cutting of mahogany and other tree species in the country; however, such laws and programmes have never been fully implemented.


Comments are closed.