After forest fires devastated large swaths of Algeria’s threatened forests, a national campaign aims to plant thousands of new trees.
Rabat – Algeria’s reforestation campaign has commenced with the ambitious goal to plant 250,000 new trees. The national campaign aims to help protect Algeria’s forests after horrific forest fires destroyed 42,338 hectares of Algeria’s vulnerable forests. Algeria’s Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad helped launch the national campaign this Saturday.
The ambitious and much-needed reforestation campaign is using the slogan “Let’s Plant it” to promote a massive undertaking to help protect Algeria’s forests.
Massive reforestation campaign
The campaign launch coincided with Friday’s UN’s World Children’s day, prompting organizers to invite Algeria’s Muslim Scouts. The PM and young scouts were joined by citizens and civil society to mark the start of the important campaign. The reforestation initiative kicked off by planting 3,000 mainly olive trees in Tipaza, where the forest fires were the most devastating.
Tipaza alone lost 3,800 hectares of forest, with 820 hectares burned on 6 and 7 November alone, when two unfortunate citizens were caught in the fires and died. Over three thousand fires raged across Algeria, burning a total of 42,338 hectares in the regions of Ain Temouchent, Blida, Chlef, Mostaganem, Oran, Sidi Bel Abbes, Tlemcen and Tipza.
Reforestation campaigns are not new in Algeria. The country planted 2.2 million trees in recent years in order to help protect vital water resources. The campaign aimed to prevent erosion in rivers that support dams and reservoirs used for hydroelectric power generation. The campaign helped to develop and reforest almost 25,000 hectares of land according to Minister of Water Resources Ali Hammam.
Devastating forest fires
Thousands of fruit and olive trees burned down as forest fires raged through Algeria in early November. Algeria’s forests were already threatened by illegal logging and climate change, a trend the campaign hopes to reverse.
Forest fires have become a regular occurrence in Algeria in recent years, prompting the government to suspect possible foul play. The government has launched an investigation into possible “criminal acts” that led to the fires that killed two and scorched the country’s forests.
Meanwhile, the government faces a difficult task in compensating the victims of the wildfires.
Amid a dire economic recession the government faces the monumental task of assisting thousands of farmers who lost their source of income because of the fires. At the launch of Algeria’s reforestation campaign, PM Djerad called for an acceleration of efforts to compensate victims, according to the country’s press agency.