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August : Arbor Week : Aid the environment by planting a tree

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30 August, 2017

Aid the environment by planting a tree during Arbor Week

Aid the environment by planting a tree during Arbor Week


Arbor Week takes place from September 1 to 7 and is a national campaign initiated to celebrate South Africa's trees and to raise awareness about their importance.

One of the trees of the year: Euclea pseudebenus; Black Ebony/Ebbehout-ghwarrie (common name: English). This tree has been selected from the list of rare species.

The theme for Arbor Week 2017 is ‘Forests and Water'.

The theme is retained from last year's theme because South Africa has not escaped the effects of drought.

This year the Department of Agriculture, Forestry's and Fisheries would like to ask you to protect our indigenous forests; help prevent veld and forest fires; plant a tree to green our country, mitigate against climate change; plant indigenous trees that save water; use water conserving methods when planting trees and integrate fruit trees into your food gardens.

Arbor day


One of the trees of the year: Ziziphus Mucronata; Buffalo thorn/Blinkblaar wag-'n-bietjie (common name: English). This tree has been selected from the list of common species.

How can you help to protect our indigenous forests?

  • Our forests are under threat from people who are careless with our heritage.
  • Never cut down a tree in a natural forest and do not remove an animal or living plant without permission.
  • Explain to others the importance of protecting our natural places.


How can you help to prevent forest fires?

  • Each year, veld and forest fires destroy thousands of hectares of trees and grasslands. Many people are injured and even killed. Animals are endangered and people's livelihoods are destroyed.
  • These fires also damage our economy by destroying valuable assets.
  • Do not light fires in the open air during winter time when it is dry. Do not be careless with flammable material.
  • Report fires to your fire brigade or police station as soon as possible.
  • Never drive or walk into an area that is on fire. If you are a landowner, it is recommended that you become a member of the local Fire Protection Association. Ask your local forestry office for details.


What about planting a tree?

  • Many places in South Africa are barren and lifeless because they do not have trees, gardens or plants.
  • In the past, trees were not planted in township areas while suburbs have usually had trees growing for many years.
  • We have to plant trees in every town, city and school in South Africa.
  • National Arbor Week serves to promote awareness of the need to plant and maintain indigenous trees throughout South Africa, especially for the many disadvantaged communities who often live in barren and water stressed areas.


For 2017 the following two tree species have been selected as trees of the year:

1. Ziziphus Mucronata; Buffalo Thorn/Blinkblaar wag-'n-bietjie (common name: English). This tree has been selected from the list of common species.

2. Euclea pseudebenus; Black Ebony/Ebbehout-ghwarrie (common name: English). This tree has been selected from the list of rare species.

Did you know?

The idea for Arbor Day originally came from Nebraska.

When visiting the state today, one would not find evidence that the area was once a treeless plain.

Yes, it was a lack of trees there that led to the founding of Arbor Week in the 1800s.

Historically, South Africa did not have a culture of tree planting and it was in the 1970s that a real need to promote tree planting was recognised.

The concept of National Arbor Day ensued from the 1973 Green Heritage Campaign.

Following requests from various organisations and institutions, the former Department of Forestry obtained approval in 1982 to celebrate National Arbor Day from 1983. In 1996, the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, emphasising the importance of tree planting in South Africa, extended Arbor Day from one day to week.

Source: Boksburg Advertiser




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