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Embracing the greening of communities during the national arbor month





Posted: 01 September 2020

National Arbor Week 2020 | 31 August to 4 September

“Forest and Biodiversity"

The Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has led millions of South Africans to change their routines and adapt to new working norms in an effort to reduce their risk of exposure to the pandemic.
While working from home has become the new norm for many, the importance of the great outdoors and livable local neighborhoods has never been more important. 
The first week of September is celebrated as the National Arbor Week in South Africa. Citizens are encouraged to do a better job of being environmentally friendly.
This year’s campaign is coordinated under the theme “Forests and Biodiversity,” signifying the importance of protecting and conserving our biodiversity as the backbone of our economy and livelihoods.
The department of environment, forestry and fisheries (DEFF) encourages all South Africans are therefore called upon to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management.
The 2020 trees of the year according to Forestry South Africa, are:

  • Ekebergia capensis, Essenhout (Common) and
  • Adansonia digitata Baobab, Kremetart (Uncommon or rare)

Greening communities is a responsibility of all who live in it. Members of communities must be involved and take part in "greening" their communities. Planting trees and greening human settlements takes place in communities.
Greening refers to an integrated approach to the planting, care and management of all vegetation in urban and rural areas, to secure multiple benefits for communities
In South Africa, greening takes place more in small towns, townships and informal settlements because in the past, these areas were disadvantaged in terms of planning. Facilities such as parks as well as tree planting in streets and open spaces were not prioritised.
It is therefore important for local government to partner with its stakeholders and support green community-based activities. Municipalities have a critical role to play in creating awareness of the importance of greening public spaces as well as to create sustainable and livable habitats that protect the environment.

To learn more about public sector greening policies, practices and initiatives, look out for the following webinars:
• Greening and Open Space Management. Convened by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) with the City of Johannesburg (CoJ)- 11 September 2020
•Trees and Climate Protection. Convened by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) with the City of Cape Town and EThekwini Metro- 18 September 2020.

•Ecological Infrastructure Co-benefits. Convened by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Ehlanzeni District Municipality-25 September 2020.


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