Green initiative enhances tree cover in Libya

A nation-wide initiative by hundreds of volunteers planting thousands of trees is increasing tree cover and helping stem desertification in Libya.

Over the past two years, the ‘Branches Campaign’ has planted over 6,000 trees in both depleted woodlands and in areas that previously had no tree cover. The intention of the campaign is to add a total of 25,000 trees by end of 2019.

“The campaign has several goals. Some goals are social. Some goals are about preserving the environment, as well as increasing citizens’ awareness of environmental issues. Of course, and as we all know, there are big climate changes taking place. One of our goals is to increase the sizes of forests, as well as get people to understand the importance of trees and fight all kinds of tree logging, given how fast the activity has been spreading recently,” said Anwar Bouz Anin, the supervisor of Branches Campaign.

To incorporate the concept of reforestation among the very young, the campaign has been encouraging school children to plant trees in and around their schools and homes.

“We’ve brought this idea to students in schools, to children, in order to plant within them the love for trees, which they can then transfer to the trees. When children join in planting trees they can plant it with love and care that helps trees to grow. The child plants the tree in their school and if the tree does not bloom, then the child continues to seed it and give it double the love.”

The desert country has in recent years experienced patches of deforestation by armed militias who occupied woodlands and depleted their forest cover. According to reforestation campaigns, some severely deforested woodlands include al-Kashafa forest in Misrata, where nearly 10,000 trees were destroyed and the Wadi Kaam forest in the town of Zilten, where about 3,000 trees were downed.