Posts Tagged ‘tree planting’

Tree planting celebration in Pune’s Bio Diversity Park

Written by Aina on . Posted in India, News, Take Action

Last Friday, 12th of August, was a very special day for us, here at Nektarina. We were celebrating the International Youth Day and our 7th anniversary with a very inspiring activity organized by Suresh More, our E4S Project Manager in India: a tree planting in the city of Pune.

The activity took place early in the morning in the area of Katraj Gujarwadi inside the Bio Diversity Park reservation on the city’s hills and involved the participation of around 60 young children aged 3 to 5 years old, teachers, and representatives of the “Little Diamond” school.

Fifty trees provided by the school, organizers, and supporters of the activity were planted in the Bio Diversity Park reservation, which is an important protected area managed by Pune Municipal Corporation consisting of 978.540 hectares of land on the hills surrounding the city.

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The protected area was created after vast areas of the hills were severely deforested for timber and infrastructural use in the 2000s. Ever since, Pune Municipal Corporation has been protecting the area and promoting its reforestation as the total area represents more than 90% of the city’s green areas, thus has the potential to become the green lungs of this rapid growing city.

We are very satisfied to have been able to organize this meaningful activity involving children from such a young age. The tree planting activity is not only a source of inspiration and knowledge for children and their communities, it also helps to connect and create a bond with nature, with the land, with the origin and growth of a tree, its needs and care. At the same time we are glad to have contributed a little with the reforestation of this area of the city that was formerly so neglected and abused.

We are confident that the experience and the enthusiasm that our young participants showed during the tree planting activity will stay with them forever.

In trees and children there is always hope!

 Click here to check out all the great photos of the activity  

Tree Planting in Ghana

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in Ghana, News & Updates, Upcoming Events

In late July, Nektarina Non-Profit and its local partners Peter & Lisa Organization Ghana (PLOG) conducted a large scale activity planting over 200 trees in selected spaces in the Volta region of Ghana.

Over a hundred school children joined in the event, getting their hands dirty and assisting with the tree planting. There were also people from the local communities, teachers, parents, and representatives from the District Chief Office, the Education Ministry, the Forestry Commision, and NADMO, along with anyone else who wanted to participate – the event was open to all.

The trees were planted around the Quarters Area in Jasikan, with particular attention given to the hospital project land. The planned hospital will be a great benefit to the entire region and the country as a whole, so being involved in readying the plot of land with our trees was a huge honour for PLOG and Nektarina.

While the children involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves, enthusiastically getting involved with digging and planting, they were also fascinated by the reasons why we were engaging in this activity. After some educational activities and awareness talks, they left with a new appreciation for this most vital part of our environment.

PLOG and Nektarina will care for and maintain the sapling trees for six months, at which point the Teak trees will be robust enough to continue growing without frequent care. Teak trees can grow to be well over 20m tall and frequently live to be hundreds of years old (the oldest is over 1,500), so the tree planting activity was not only a fantastic experience for everyone in attendance, but will continue to provide joy to the region for many years to come.


teak treeSuch was the success of this event, the team have been asked to take on an additional tree planting activity, this time taking place over 2 days (30th – 31st October), planting around 3,000 trees!

With over 300 children expected to attend, this activity aims to educate them on the importance of environmental sustainability, particularly within their local communities. It will also teach the value of carbon offsetting, and promote tree planting as a key way people can offset their carbon footprints. This will be tied together with general lessons about climate change and the importance of forests in regulating our environment.

Representatives from multiple government bodies are expected to be in attendance, including the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Environment, Science, & Technology; the Ministry of Lands & Forestry; the Forestry Commission; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the National Disaster Management Organisation. Mr. Abrampah Kilian, the District Assembly Chief Executive of Jasikan, is also expected to appear at the event. Peter Nana, the Country Manager for Ghana for Education for Sustainability, says “I can’t wait to bring this activity to the children, many of whom will not have had the opportunity to participate in a similar exercise. It is vital that we instil the value of a sustainable life as early as possible, and this is a great start to that.”

In cooperation with the Forestry Research Department, teak trees have been selected to plant, because of their capacity to have a positive impact on the environment by oxygenating the air, by providing stability to the ground, and by acting as windbreakers.

Earth Day Sends a Message

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, General Information, Green Economy, India, News, News & Updates, Publications, Regions, Take Action, Upcoming Events

  tumblr_lv1vn0FMdo1qek3gjo1_500Photo Source: Google

While watching the movie Avatar for me one striking element in the movie was The Tree of Souls. A giant willow tree the closest connection to Eywa, mother goddess for the Na’vi people of densely forested habitable moon, Pandora. The tree had spiritual significance for the Na’vi people. In the movie the destruction of the Tree of Souls would prove disastrous to Na’vi people as a whole, creating a void that would decimate the race in its entirety. Avatar to me did seem a love letter to the glory of nature and humanity.

You must be thinking why on earth I am talking about Avatar, well the answer lies in the fact that 22 April is the International Earth Day celebrated worldwide in support of environmental protection. . For the first time Earth Day was celebrated on 22 April, 1970 mobilizing millions of people from all walks of life and led to the launching of many environmental movements including Earth Day Network. For some people tree plantation might be an epitome of environmental cliché. But I do believe that a nation’s wealth lies in its rivers, forests, oceans, scenic beauty and wildlife. This is all we have. The biological systems are in fact the whole economy sustaining world’s wealth. With the world now becoming highly industrialized giving preference to cutting down of trees so that big shopping malls can take its place arguing that it leads to development, I somehow can’t fathom this equation of development. Cutting down of trees has led to global warming for which it is important to understand the greenhouse effect. We don’t want to stop economic progress that could give millions better lives. Insisting on sustainable development that combines environmental care, economic growth and social justice is the need of the time. Unrestricted growth cannot be supported by our planet.  

Coming back to the greenhouse gases particularly carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is damaging to the environment. With an excess of these gases by human inventions, the greenhouse effect is accelerating and this is causing the rise in temperature that we have been experiencing in the last two centuries. We might not see a red flag here yet but the effects it has on the environment and the organisms that live in it are detrimental. The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and it’s concentration has hit 402 ppm this month and alarmingly that is the highest level recorded in at least 800,000 years. Doesn’t this lead to raise a red flag? Many plants and animals cannot adapt to temperature changes in the environment letting them to become some endangered and others extinct. The trees play a vital role in the carbon cycle. The more trees we have, the less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the more oxygen there is to be consumed by the species that inhabit the Earth. Wasn’t it the oxygen that makes life a miracle on the planet Earth compared to the rest of the planets? We live in an age where carbon dioxide is profuse in the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide released through human innovations, such as automobiles, industries, and power plants is damaging and we should do something about it before it gets late. More than ever trees play a significant assigned role in the environment and take some of the excess carbon dioxide out of the air. Unfortunately, deforestation does not let this to happen and with millions of trees cut down each year r various purposes, the amount of carbon dioxide is rising day by day causing average temperature to rise. Ultimately this leads to global warming and its effects are evident now.

Someone rightly said better be late than never. If we do conserve our existing supple of trees we can play our part in securing a better future. So no matter how clichéd it sounds planting a tree, loving our natural reserves, protecting it is essential. We need to think about deforestation.

While watching the movie Avatar and how sacred the trees especially Tree of Souls was for the inhabitants did remind me of Chipko (Hugging) movement. Started in early 1970s the Chipko movement was a non-violent resistance through the act of hugging trees and protecting the trees from being cut down.  Using the Gandhian methods, the movement to protect trees with rising deforestation awareness led to peasant women from the village Rani Khet, India taking an action and reclaiming their traditional forest rights. Their actions inspired many others throughout the region at the grassroots level. The movement had spread throughout India by 1980s that led to the formulation of people-sensitive forest policies, which put a stop to openly cutting down trees in the region. The movement originated in 1970s is an inspiration for many environmentalists where a group of women peasants got together to make a difference. Their efforts cannot ne ignored or forgotten. Today while celebrating Earth Day I want to acknowledge this movement that was started in a small village to save the trees. It was started at a time when there was less talk about protecting environment. Loving something does ignite passion in people that can make them do wonders.

Many have united today who feel for trees the same way the peasant women of Chipko movement or Na’vi people of Pandora planet did. Just love it and then you will feel the need to protect it. Among many Earth Day Network did step forward adding another drop in the ocean with a hope to educate and inspire. After the first Earth Day in 1970 many environmental laws soon followed. The various acts made it biding on the law to protect the environment and everything therein. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) now works with thousands of partners in 192 countries to positively take forward the environmental movement. Millions of people now participate in Earth Day activities each year that makes it the largest civic observance in the world.

Over the last 40 years, Earth Day Network has executed innumerable successful environmental campaigns on issues ranging from drinking water and climate change to saving the whale and many others. To tackle new challenges Earth Day Network created innovative programs with non-environmental partners that were engaging and participatory. EDN’s extensive activities, whether promoting green economic policies or green schools at home or abroad is concerned do inform populations instilling in them the energy to act for a healthy future for themselves and their children. Working with partner organizations Earth Day Network does provide civic engagement opportunities at local, national and international levels. Earth Day Network works to broaden the definition of environment that is inclusive of well being of an individual promoting a sustainable future. This includes creating green jobs, green schools and protecting the environment by stopping air and water pollution. There is a dire need to raise awareness on these issues when many are blinded by the false definition of development, where the shiny and big industries act as eyewash and an epitome of success and prosperity. By no means does this statement reflect that I am against economic growth but too much of everything is bad, we can’t mess with the nature as it’s results would be detrimental, we have already started to experience it’s wrath and it’s time to be aware and act accordingly.

One of the initiatives that did strike me was Avatar Home Tree Initiative. The reason why it struck me maybe was my fancy for the movie Avatar and importance of tree plantation. And this campaign did reflect that interestingly. The Avatar Tree Initiative was a great success and did exceed it’s original objectives aimed at sustainable development and environmental protection. With seventeen partner organizations together with the dedication of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment thousands of trees were planted in six continents. Involving thousands of people these tree planting projects benefitted tens of thousands of people and continue to profit the global environment and all it’s dwellers. To see such projects flourish and affect millions does give hope. We don’t need to belong to the planet Pandora to feel for the trees. These tree planting projects did develop despite the current challenges of natural disasters and depressed international economy.

To protect environment for all people and protect the natural lands The Canopy Project undertaken by Earth Day Network does catch one’s attention. Planting trees to help communities especially the impoverished communities to help them sustain themselves and their communities is an initiative that deserves praise. Instead of focusing on large scale forestry EDN started by reaching out to local communities keeping in mind the think big and start small approach. It is no surprise that the under privileged needs more attention and help as when the atrocities strike they are the ones most affected by it. Ironic as it might sound nature doesn’t keep track of the rich and poor and no one can be saved from it’s rage. Giving priority to the impoverished communities and making them plant trees to achieve environmental sustainability is a positive step. Trees not only filter the air but also provide food, income and energy thus helping the communities economically too.

The reality is that unpredictable weather patterns are increasing and are more frequent. We have been experiencing violent storms and floods. Trees not only help take excessive carbon dioxide from the air but also help to prevent soil erosion that has led to devastating floods. It is true that first line of defense against global warming is planting more trees. We definitely need to go green and that is why in 2012, Earth Day Network made a commitment with the Global Poverty Project to plant 10 million trees in impoverished areas of the world over the next five years. This commitment needs to become a reality and with perseverance and help from everyone it can become a reality.

The Canopy Project has planted over 1.5 million trees in 18 countries over the past three years. In many states in the US, projects to restore urban canopies have been completed. In Haiti alone Earth Day Network planted 500,000 trees. The earthquakes causing landslides on deforested hillsides that led to horrific devastation in Haiti s known to everyone. In many high poverty districts in Uganda EDN planted 350,000 trees providing local farmers with food, fuel and stability of soil. The Canopy Project of the Earth Day Network has been active around the world. In Australia, Landcare Australia working with national parks and land care groups focused on areas with endangered animal species.  In Belgium, Vereniging voor Bos in Vlaanderen  or Organization for Forests in Flanders worked with private landowners  to afforest their properties to fight the environmental effects of intensive livestock and agricultural production. In Brazil SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation worked with local communities to plant innate trees as a means to restore one of the most biologically diverse Atlantic Forest. In Canada, Tree Canada joined the Avatar Home Tree Initiative to restore pine forest that was devastated by 2005 hurricane. In France,  Kinomé’s Trees & Life program helped young children in southern France to plant their own trees. Kids of the same age in Senegal planted two trees for every tree planted by children of France fostering global reforestation and intercultural awareness. In Germany, The Berlin Energy Agency’s and Club-E  planted trees in southern Berlin as part of its mission to raise awareness about sustainable development among young people. In Italy, San Giovanni community and municipality in Persiceto worked on the Cassa Budrie reforestation project that helped to promote local water security and prevent soil erosion. In Japan a tailored tree-planting at a Japanese school provided students and teachers the opportunity to plant trees on their campus and engage in related green schools activities. In Mexico, Sierra Gorda Ecological Group (SGEG) has been working since 1987. The SGEG worked with local communities and farmers to plant trees directly benefiting local communities restoring watersheds. In The Netherlands, Stichting wAarde or the Earth Value Foundation worked with local young prople to plant trees in Amsterdam and Utrecht. In Spain, Plantemos Para el Planeta planted trees in southeastern Costa del Sol, which was destroyed by wildfire in 2009. In Sweden, Under Sweden’s Skogen i Skolan or Forest in School program, various trees in northeast Sweden were planted by teachers and students.

Supported by and carried out in partnership with nonprofit tree planting organizations throughout the world like some examples stated above Earth Day Network is slowly moving towards it’s goal of planting 10 million trees within the period of five years. Many sponsors and individual donations have also contributed in making this project a success. Working in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Billion Trees Campaign Earth Day Network does wish to contribute positively towards the green movement.

We need to protect our Tree of Souls to continue living in a sustainable world. The Na’vi people of Pandora planet did win in the end. Looking at reality rather than fiction does make me say that we can do that too. Interestingly Avatar was released on Earth Day in 2010 which wasn’t a coincidence. Avatar has inspired a worldwide tree-planting campaign, that involves a million trees in 15 countries and that campaign is The Canopy Project of Earth Day Network. Avatar aligning with Earth Day Network is also a deliberate attempt to press for the need of planting more trees. After the film James Cameron and actress Sigourney Weaver went to the Amazon rainforests and they have been talking about the importance of preserving the environment. Film is an important medium to spread the message using an entertaining tool and it’s about taking everyone along, people from all walks of life to make a positive change.

It should also be kept in mind that narrowing the focus on global warming and losing the broader focus of protecting life on this planet can lead to adverse outcomes. It should be about protecting the forest as an effort to sustain the world’s biodiversity. It is important to look at what is causing the rise of carbon dioxide targeting the current energy system to curb this crisis. It is important to look at all the aspects rather than looking to forests only to solve the current climate crisis.

NB: Nektarina Non Profit is the official partner of Earth Day Network since 2010

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Weekly News # 10 / Spring time – the time for new beginnings

Written by admin on . Posted in General Information, News

Finally, after months of waiting and enduring the cold, the moment we were all waiting for has come: spring is here at last. That is at least what the calendar says, anyway. Even though in some places the winter is still trying to impose its will, there is no turning back now. The sun will shine longer and cast a warmer light upon us, the trees will blossom and the numb world will come back to life. This is what makes spring the most loved season of all: it is the symbol of a new beginning, a new cycle of life that is starting, a new world full of possibilities. Since ancient times, people have created special celebrations to greet the arrival of spring. And even if many of them are lost today or have been replaced by others, the joy of spring coming cannot be hidden and it is still warming up our hearts just like every other year. The equinox This year, on March 20 at 11:02 a.m. Universal Time, the March Equinox (also known as the Spring Equinox or Vernal Equinox) occured, meaning that the sun was directly overhead the equator. On this day, there were twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness at all points on the earth’s surface. The sun rises at the North Pole to the horizon on the March Equinox and the North Pole remains lit until the September Equinox. At the same time, at the South Pole, the sun sets after the South Pole having been lit for the previous six months (since the September Equinox). It has been a tradition that spring “officially begins” on March 20, and the three other seasons begin on their solstices or equinox. However, there is no set scientific standard for the beginning of the seasons. March, April, and May are most commonly thought to be the spring months. On March 20, most consider that spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn begins in the Southern Hemisphere. The beginning of spring often represents a mild transitional climate between the extremes of winter and summer. Seasonal changes primarily impact the higher latitudes (those above 23.5 degrees). The areas between the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south effectively do not have seasons because the sun is always high in the sky. And now that the spring is here, the sun is shining and the birds are singing, what to do with all the energy that we have stored during the winter? We think this is the best time to be outside, enjoy and connect to the nature. Here are a few suggestions for you. Planting a tree After the autumn planting round, the next best period to plant a tree is in early spring. At this point, trees are still dormant and the chances of their survival are better than when the weather turns warm. If you do decide to try tree planting this spring, either with your school or in your own garden, here are some steps that you should follow: 1. Choose location and tree species. Do some research to find out what trees are best suited for your soil and moisture conditions. Don’t forget the tree’s eventual height and spread, and plan for its size at maturity. If you have a restricted planting area or overhead power lines or buried pipes, this will limit the size of the tree you plant. Before getting started, give entire planting area a soaking (the day before so you don’t work in muck) or plant after rain has moistened the soil. 2. Dig the hole. Be careful at its size: too deep and the roots don’t have access to sufficient oxygen to ensure proper growth; too narrow and the root structure can’t expand sufficiently to nourish and properly anchor the tree. As a general rule, trees should be transplanted no deeper than the soil in which they were originally grown.  The width of the hole should be at least 3 times the diameter of the root ball or container or the spread of the roots in the case of bare root trees.  This will provide the tree with enough worked earth for its root structure to establish itself. 3. Place the tree in the hole. Balled and burlapped trees should always be lifted by the ball, never by the trunk. The burlap surrounding the ball of earth and roots should either be cut away completely (mandatory, in the case of synthetic or plastic burlap) or at least pulled back from the top third of the ball (in the case of natural burlap).  Any string or twine should also be removed. In the case of container trees, once carefully removed from the container, check the roots. If they are tightly compressed or ‘pot bound’, use your fingers or a blunt instrument to carefully tease the fine roots away from the tight mass and then spread the roots prior to planting. For extremely woody compacted roots, it may be necessary to use a spade to open up the bottom half of the root system. The root system is then pulled apart or ‘butterflied’ prior to planting. Loosening the root structure in this way is extremely important in the case of container plants.  Failure to do so may result in the roots ‘girdling’ and killing the tree. Bare-rooted trees should be planted as soon as possible after purchasing. Care should be taken to ensure that the roots are kept moist in the period between purchase and planting. To plant, first build a cone of earth in the centre of the hole around which to splay the roots.  Make sure that when properly seated on this cone the tree is planted so that the ‘trunk flare’ is clearly visible and the ‘crown’, where the roots and top meet, is about two inches above the soil level.  This is to allow for natural settling. 4. Fill the hole. Backfill soil (combinations of peat moss, composted manure, topsoil, etc.) is then placed in the hole surrounding the tree just to the height of the ball or the former container level to allow for some settling.  Be careful not to over-compress the backfill soil as this may prevent water from reaching the roots and the roots from expanding inside the soil. Compress gently using your hands instead of your feet. 5. Water well after planting, but don’t apply fertilizer until second growing season. If you don’t get regular rainfall, continue to water newly planted trees thoroughly (an inch of water once a week), in the first season. If you have the possibility, apply a two- to four-inch layer of mulch to soil at tree base in a 3-foot circle. This helps conserve moisture, reduces competition from grass and weeds and encourages you to keep string trimmers away from trunk. Don’t heap mulch up against trunk, as this can promote decay. Riding the bike The longer, sunny days and the warmer temperatures are certainly inviting for a trip outdoors. Just hop on your bike (or roller-blades, skateboard or any other un-motorised device that you know how to ride) and take it to the roads. If your local conditions allow, you can expand from just an occasional ride for fun to start riding your bike to work, to the shop, to meet your friends, instead of using a car or a bus. This will keep your tonus high and your carbon footprint low. Spring Cleaning Since it is spring again, the Spring Cleaning concept should not come as a surprise for anyone. Whether we use it for cleaning our houses from top to bottom or for tidying up our gardens in preparation for the summer, one thing it’s for sure: it does take a lot of energy. So if you feel like putting those muscles to work, this is the activity for you. While you get busy, keep in mind the environment. Try to use environmentally friendly detergents and cleaning products and use water efficiently. Don’t just let that tap running; remember, we just celebrated World Water Day. And if you find things that need to be disposed of, try to see if they match any recycling options. Sources: http://geography.about.com/od/timeandtimezones/a/marchequinox.htm http://www.tree-planting.com/tree-planting-4.htm http://www.flower-gardening-made-easy.com/how-to-plant-a-tree.html Photo credits: Livia Minca
International Day of Forests

The International Day of Forests

Written by admin on . Posted in General Information, News

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. In this inspirational 1 minute clip the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) invites people all over the planet to consider the extraourdinary gift that represent our forests and to participate in their well being by planting trees: http://www.fao.org/news/audio-video/detail-video/en/?uid=9697. On the first International Day of Forests, celebrated by the United Nations today, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva proposed that countries support a Zero Illegal Deforestation target in the context of the post-2015 debate. “In many countries, illegal deforestation is degrading ecosystems, diminishing water availability and limiting the supply of fuelwood – all of which reduce food security, especially for the poor,” Graziano da Silva said at a ceremony marking the International Day of Forests. “Stopping illegal deforestation and forest degradation would do much to end hunger, extreme poverty and bring about sustainability.” “This is why, I would like to encourage countries to promote tree planting and to consider a Zero Illegal Deforestation target in the context of the post-2015 debate. These two goals should be closely linked. We can achieve positive results if countries, the international financial institutions, the UN, civil society and the private sector join forces to tackle these issues.” Mediterranean countries respond to forest threats In parallel, the countries of the Mediterranean are meeting today at the Third Mediterranean Forest Week, taking place in Tlemcen, Algeria (17-21 March), to discuss the state of Mediterranean forests and adopt a Strategic Framework on Mediterranean Forests. The Mediterranean forests are expected to be hard hit by climate change and are under severe pressure from population growth, according to the first FAO report on The State of Mediterranean Forests, also published today. This results in ever-increasing competition for already scarce food and water resources in the region. Climate change and population growth Temperatures in the Mediterranean increased by one degree during the twentieth century while rainfall decreased by 20 percent in certain Mediterranean areas. By the end of this century, it is expected that temperatures will have risen by a further two degrees, which is likely to put some forest species at risk of extinction and result in loss of biodiversity. Population growth is expected to rise from around 500 million people currently living in the Mediterranean to 625 million by 2050. This will put additional pressure on forests as sources of food and water. The situation differs across the region. In the northern Mediterranean countries an abandonment of forested lands has led to a dramatic increase in the incidence of forest fires. In the southern Mediterranean, population growth has led to forests being overgrazed or lost to agriculture and urban expansion. In both cases, the result is deforestation and forest degradation, exacerbated by the impact of climate change and economic crises. New collaborative strategies are urgently required to sustainably manage these fragile and vital ecosystems, the report said. In countries like Turkey or Tunisia, where the political will has been strong, forest area has recovered significantly in the past decades. “The Mediterranean region is undergoing many changes in their societies, lifestyles and climate”, said FAO Assistant Director-General for Forests Eduardo Rojas-Briales. “If unmanaged, such changes could lead to negative impacts on livelihoods, biodiversity, wildfire risks, watersheds or desertification. There is an urgent need to regularly assess the state of Mediterranean forests using objective and reliable data and to manage endangered forest resources more sustainably.” New strategies to ensure environmental services Mediterranean forests are a significant carbon sink. In 2010 they stocked almost 5 billion tons of carbon, which represent 1.6 percent of the global forest carbon stock. They also provide valuable ecosystem services such as water and climate regulation, the provision of wood and non-wood products, and biodiversity conservation. The Mediterranean region is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. There are more than 25,000 plant species in the Mediterranean region, compared with about 6,000 in central and northern Europe. The report stresses that the value of Mediterranean forests and their vital role in climate change adaptation and mitigation should be recognized at local, regional and national levels. It calls upon governments and foresters to promote the use of wood and non-wood forest products such as cork for long-term carbon storage, and to reinforce the investment potential of smallholders working in wood and non-wood, forest-based industries (pine nuts, esparto grass, mushrooms, honey, etc.). The report urges foresters to use the variety of forest genetic resources in their silvicultural practices and promote forest species best able to adapt to changing climate conditions. On a local scale, foresters should also improve forest planning to manage forest ecosystems with the optimal density of trees and to deal with water scarcity, whereas the large scale activities should include systematic forest fire prevention. Forest fire prevention Climate change could lead to more frequent and more severe fires, the report warned. Between 2006 and 2010, around two million hectares of forests were affected by fires in the Mediterranean region. Without adequate fire prevention measures, including fire hazard reduction and prescribed fires to burn biomass during the winter season to reduce fuel levels, extreme weather conditions could cause catastrophic forest fire events. The report was developed by more than 20 scientific and technical institutions and non-governmental organizations and nearly 50 authors and other contributors coordinated by FAO and Plan Bleu, the main support centre of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development. FAO intends to publish The State of Mediterranean Forests every five years, providing further opportunities to unify and mobilize partners in the management of Mediterranean forests and other wooded lands. Based on the key recommendations adopted in the Tlemcen Declaration during its high-level segment, the future implementation of the Strategic Framework on Mediterranean Forests could be a useful regional tool to adapt national forest policies in the face of ongoing global changes which are affecting the Mediterranean region. Sources: http://www.fao.org/forestry/international-day-of-forests/en/ http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/172595/icode/