Children, never too young to be taught to appreciate forests: Naiqamu

Ministry of Forestry director of operations in the Northern Division Moape Lotawa plants tree seedlings with students at the launch. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

CHILDREN are never too young to be taught to appreciate their forests and the fundamental functions of trees in the natural ecosystem, says Forestry Minister Osea Naiqamu.

Mr Naiqamu has called on parents and teachers to help their children reconnect with nature creating future generations that were conscious of the benefit of trees and the forests but most importantly the need to manage it sustainably.

Officiating at the launch of the primary schools tree planting program in Labasa last week, Mr Naiqamu said for many children in Fiji, forests were a direct source of food, wood and shelter and part of their everyday lives.

“Other children can discover forests in classrooms and forest schools, by spending guided time in forests and urban parks, or by learning about trees growing in cities and gardens,” he said.

“Investing in forestry education can change the world for the better.

“By investing in forestry education at all levels, countries 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 to achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals for instance by supporting the livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest communities and conserving biodiversity.”

Mr Naiqamu added that all governments needed to put in place ambitious forest policies and regulations to protect the traditional forest cover and the biodiversity that it sheltered.

“Government now has some new national priorities which essentially includes the sustainable management of Fiji’s forest resources to cater for both the future and current needs and in the process to increase the forestry sector’s contribution to Fiji’s economic forum,” he said.

“This tree planting program is the continuation of the 2019 International Day of Forests theme which merely focuses in raising awareness on the importance of all types of forests.

“This four million trees in four years initiative builds on the new United Nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development particularly the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 supporting the New York declaration on forests which aims to end natural forest loss globally by 2030 restoring 350 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land at the same time.”

Primary schools in the North are also actively participating in the four million trees in four years initiative.

More Stories