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The Forestry Department is moving to make its seedling production process more environmentally friendly as the Agency ramps up production in support of the National Tree Planting Initiative (NTPI).

The Agency has been experimenting with biodegradable seedling bags with a view of using them to replace plastic bags now utilized in its seedling production process. Mr. Ainsley A. Henry, CEO & Conservator of Forests at the Forestry Department announced the pilot of the proposed changes at the #MyTreeLegacy promotion event at the St. Catherine High on June 18. “Currently, we are testing biodegradable bags in our nursery to eliminate single use plastic seedling bags from our production of tree seedlings. We are confident that in addition to eliminating the single use plastic bags, this will also enhance our customers success in their tree planting efforts as they will no longer have to remove seedlings from bags before planting,” he said.

Mr. Henry explained that the trial was part of the Agency’s efforts to support its parent Ministry’s ban on single use plastic. “It is in this vein and in support of similar steps in the right direction by our parent MHURECC (Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change) to eliminate single use plastics, that we at the Forestry Department are also taking steps towards ensuring the success of the NTPI by making our seedling production more environmentally friendly,” he said.

In addition to the biodegradable bags, he also shared that the Agency is constructing shade houses at all its tree nurseries to boost their production capacities using recyclable material.  “We are also renewing through reusing. The capacity of our nurseries is being expanded through the construction of shade houses by reusing material from an old nursery that was at our head office. When complete our production capacity, will be significantly higher both in support of seedlings to meet the National Tree Planting Initiative targets, but also to serve the public better by ensuring our ability to supply existing favourite tree or shrub species as well as to introduce new fruit and ornamental tree species as products,” he said.

As of mid-June, the Agency and partners had distributed and planted more than 610,000 seedlings in support of the Initiative. Several organisations have thrown their support behind the tree planting programme by making commitments in excess of two million trees in support of the programme. The Forestry Department, on behalf of the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change and the Government of Jamaica, is leading the implementation of the ‘Three Million Trees in Three Years: National Tree Planting Initiative’ (NTPI). It is aimed at planting trees to improve the country’s climate resilience and meeting the Nationally Determined Contributions under climate agreements, while providing an opportunity for everyone to contribute to increasing the island’s forest cover as well as beautifying their surroundings through tree planting.  


For more information about the NTPI visit: www.forestry.gov.jm/NTPI


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