South Africa celebrates Arbor Week in the first week of September annually. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), as the custodian of forestry in South Africa, is responsible for the campaign.
September is also heritage month and as we celebrate Arbor Week, the department also focuses on the country’s champion trees which include some of the oldest, largest and culturally significant trees. These include the Sophia Town Oak Tree and the Sagole Baobab Tree in Limpopo, which are part of our heritage.
National Arbor Week is an opportune time to call on all South Africans to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management.
It affords the government, the private sector, non-governmental and community based organisations and the public to be involved in “greening” their communities. Planting trees and greening human settlements takes place in communities.
It is therefore important for the public to join hands with partners in local government and community-based organisations.
Greening refers to an integrated approach to the planting, care and management of all vegetation in urban and rural areas, to secure multiple benefits for communities
Greening in the South African context takes place in towns, townships and informal settlements specifically because in the past the latter mentioned areas were disadvantaged in terms of planning for parks as well as tree planting in streets and open spaces.