On August 16, 2016, Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa told Parliament that more than 800,000 trees would be planted PNG-wide by 2050 as part of a long-overdue re-afforestation programme.
Tomuriesa said that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had made an announcement in Paris, France during the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 that the trees would be planted as part of PNG’s effort to mitigating the effects of climate changes.
Papua New Guinea Vision 2050 envisages that by 2010, round log exports would have been eliminated and ensure the downstream processing of all logs onshore while developing forestry plantations in suitable areas, with landowner participation.
In the Imbonggu district of Southern Highlands Province, an elementary school teachers has started a tree planting project on his customary land and wants to continue planting more and encourage neighbouring communities to do the same on their unused or surplus land.
Teacher in charge of Hos elementary school, Nopi Tunu and his family have planted over 1, 700 trees at Hulpin village in the Lower Mendi Local Level Government area.
Tunu said the government should be serious about climate changes issues and start involving genuine rural registered landowners groups to participate in O’Neill’s announced 800,000 tree planting programme by 2050.
He said that forestry officers should make physical on-the-spot inspection of landowners who have actually planted tree and recommend for financial assistance from the government.
Tunu suggested that such government assistance would help family/community groups to establish integrated fruit growing and forestry projects.
“For my case, it is not about starting a new project, but need government assistance to plant more trees and together with fruit tree crops in between.
“In doing so, were not only participating in ways to mitigating the effects of climate change, but also involving the local communities to additional income earning opportunities and help reduce the huge import bill on imported fruits such as oranges and apples”, he said.
Tunu said climate change, melting of ice glaciers, sea level rising, atolls and small islands sinking, destruction to food crops and fruit trees as well as other associated problems are real natural occurrences confronting planet Earth.
He said as a member of the global community, Papua New Guinea is a signatory to some international commitments and is obliged as a participating nation to honour them by implementing the specified programmes and activities.
Picture: Nopi Tunu (left) with his family and relatives planting new trees to extend existing tree planting project at Hulpin village in Lower Mendi LLG area.