WAGENINGEN, Netherlands (Landscape News) – A new “Somaliland National Tree Day” reforestation initiative will be held each year to address one of the most severe environmental threats faced by the semi-autonomous region in the Horn of Africa.
A devastating six-year drought in Somaliland has killed off animals and left livestock farmers searching for alternate sources of income from charcoal production, which has led to extensive deforestation, said a university professor attending a workshop on landscape governance organized by the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands.
Sied Muhumed Jibril, vice president for Academic and Research at Somaliland’s University of Hargeisa, spoke with Landscape News about the government’s new reforestation initiative, established to counter the effects of deforestation caused by people cutting trees down.
“They don’t know that cutting the trees is again cyclically affecting the livelihood of the community,” Jibril said, referring to the exacerbation of drought caused by deforestation.
On April 15, Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi launched a program to embrace efforts against deforestation and decreed that millions of trees should be planted to restore depleted forests.
For the inaugural Somaliland National Tree Day, the 4 million residents of Somaliland were encouraged to plant 100,000 trees, stop cutting trees down and discuss environment challenges in an effort to create awareness on the best ways to fight the severe long-lasting drought that has devastated the region.
Degradation in Somaliland, which wants independence from Somalia but is not recognized internationally, occurs in large measure due to charcoal consumption, illegal trade and export, according to a report from the Somali Ecological Society.
Additionally, clearing of vegetation, overgrazing, soil erosion, deforestation and general depletion of natural resources have led to biodiversity loss.
“This is a good achievement which can maintain the environment, which can protect the environment and which can sustain the environment,” Jibril said. “It will be a great opportunity not to again have such drought.”
Find out about GLF Nairobi 2018 — Landscape Restoration in Africa: Prospects and Opportunities