The United Nations declared the 21st of March as the International Day of Forests in the year 2012, to raise awareness on the importance of forests in poverty alleviation, sustainable livelihoods, food security, and environment conservation for current and future generations.
This day is celebrated across countries through tree planting programs. The theme for International Day of Forests 2019 is “Forests and Education”. Education promotes Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and biodiversity conservation, which plays a critical role in enhancing community resilience.
The theme further ensures conformity with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
The key messages of the theme for the 2019 International Day of Forests is to “learn to love forests” through the following actions:
The Government of Fiji launched an ambitious tree planting program this year, which involves planting 4 million trees in 4 years, equivalent to a million trees a year. This initiative would encourage people to plant trees, to provide timber and non-timber forest products such as fruits, ornamental and mangrove tree species.
This initiative builds upon the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which calls upon people to conserve forests globally.
The 4 million trees initiative demonstrates the commitment of the Government of Fiji to address climate change, land degradation, biodiversity loss and contribute to building sustainable livelihoods for local communities.
Fiji Minister of Forestry, Mr. Osea Naiqamu, while launching the International Day of Forests in Dratabu, Nadi stated that “by investing in forestry education at all levels, Fiji can help ensure there are scientists, policymakers, foresters and local communities working to halt deforestation and restore degraded landscapes. In turn, healthy forests will help us achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals”.
The Fiji National University (FNU), including the College of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry (CAFF), is committed towards Government’s tree planting initiative. The Department of Forestry at CAFF is organising a tree planting program today at the Instructional Forestry Farm Complex (IFFC) to commemorate this occasion.
Contributed by Dr Shipra Shah, Department of Forestry, CAFF, FNU.
Biodata of Dr Shipra Shah
Dr Shipra is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forestry, College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (CAFF) at Fiji National University (FNU). She is also currently the Seminar Coordinator for the College. Dr Shipra received her Ph.D. in forestry from Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, India where she assessed carbon stock and carbon partitioning in pine forests and demographic factors as drivers of land use change. Her current research interests are carbon sequestration potential of planted and natural forests, agroforestry systems, ethnomedicine and medicinal plant diversity of tropical rainforests. Dr Shipra has been actively engaged in teaching and research in forestry and has published scientific articles in peer reviewed journals.