BY JORGE VELEZ LIZARDO
Executive Director of INSAPROMA
Tree Day maintains a slight confusion among interested of this worthwhile theme. The question is raised by the fact that in many parts of the world its celebrated on different dates.
It is clear that the World Tree Day was established on 28 June 1969 by the World Forestry Congress held in Rome in 1969.
Sweden was the first country in the world that instituted one day each year as “Tree Day”, which occurred in 1840. The emigration of Swedes to the United States, led this “valuable cultural heritage”, which served that in North America in 1872, instituted its “Tree day”.
Canada adopted August 21 to celebrate Tree Day. This event took place in 1860.
Argentina has been a driver of forestry. On August 29, 1900, the National Council of Education, by Dr Estanislao Cevallos, instituted that date to celebrate the “Tree Day” celebration which came into effect in 1901.
In Venezuela was declared May 29 Tree Day, this happened in 1940. Although there is a resolution of the Ministry of Education May 19, 1951 ordering celebrating a Tree Week, establishing Tree Day on the last Sunday of the month of May. Previously “The Tree Party” was celebrated in all schools as a matter of obligation, which was on May 23, according to the decree of 10 April 1905 of Cipriano Castro. In 1909 the date was moved to May 15. Currently, its instituted as last Sunday in May.
In Colombia there is a celebration of National Tree Day, an event that takes place on April 29.
Mexico celebrates Tree Day on the second Thursday of July, according to the decree of 1959 of President Adolfo Lopez Mateos, although there is another permanent decree for the celebration throughout the month of July the “Fiesta of the Forest”.
Guatemala celebrates Tree Day on May 22 by the decree 30-2003. This environmental party in Guatemala has a great feature because it provides that the Ministry of Education, in coordination with the Agriculture and Environment must promote “Campaigns for National Reforestation” in educational establishments across the country and the promotion of educational campaigns that contribute to reforestation.
The Dominican Republic celebrates Tree Day in May, this event was instituted by Decree 2944 of August 21, 1957, published in the official gazette 8154, which establishes the first Sunday in May as a day for its celebration.
From the fact that the first Sunday in May 1957 was on day 5th, it has since created the confusion that is the 5th the official date, but it is actually the first Sunday of May each year, this is why this year it corresponds to Sunday 1st.
As noted, what matters is that we devote a special day to honor and reflect in favor of the tree, in order to remind us and that we value the importance of plants and forests for people and the planet. Among other things, environmental goods and natural resources and environmental services they provide.
We need to establish the difference between environmental goods and natural resources and environmental services, the first meaning,”the physical products of nature, such as wood and food” and understood by the latter, those “benefits, the use of which is indirect as generating oxygen, carbon sequestration (CO2), groundwater recharge, scenic beauty, “among others.
The forest system provides a abundance of wealth to mankind, including the replenishing the aquifer, play a vital role in regulating climate and hydrological cycles and provides the availability of potable water; with the growth of its roots aerate the soil and control erosion, which translates to an intervention in conservation and land reclamation; They capture and absorb carbon dioxide, which is transformed into the same plant nutrients to the rest of the living beings; preserve, provide and protect biodiversity; synthesize and release oxygen and nitrogen as part of photosynthesis; decompose and recycle organic waste; involved in reducing the impact of natural phenomena intervene in the assimilation and reduction of air pollutants; intervene in regulating the climate, purifying the air and reducing global warming; They are pollinators by excellence for plants in commercial and wild crops; maintain biological pest control; They provide scenic beauty and recreation; They serve as food for humans, animals and birds, serve as habitat and shelter to dozens of living things, including humans; are sources of timber for building; provide fruits, rubber, cork, dyes, fibers, oils and medicines, latex used to make tires, tubes, clothing, rubber, glue and paper; many countries use trees as cultural and civilization symbols, serve to develop attractions for tourism and recreation; They provide shade in areas of high sun exposure and serve as a source of artistic and literary inspiration.
Despite the importance of the forest system, it is alarming that global deforestation progresses.
This May, should be taken as a reference and auspicious date to reflect on its importance and the need to protect and preserve, if taken as a parameter, forests that covered the earth have gone through a process of mass destruction. About 78% (29 million square kilometers of forests) have disappeared for various reasons, including: logging, conversion to livestock, agriculture, mining, reservoirs, roads, airports, forest tracks, logging, fires, population growth and climate change and the remaining 22% of the land is threatened by the same causes. 60% of the global forest area remaining on the planet are in Brazil, Canada, Congo, United States, China, Indonesia and Russia. An estimated one hundred countries have lost their primary forests and a dozen may lose them in the coming years.
The Dominican Republic continues making efforts for environmental protection, under which it boasts a comprehensive legal framework on environmental matters. Among these instruments, the 64-00 law of 18 August 2000 on environmental and natural resources and the 202-04 law of 30 July 2004 called Sectorial Law on Protected Areas which identifies a number of areas, that qualify as “Scientific Reserves, Sanctuaries, National Parks, National Marine Parks, Natural Monuments, Wildlife Refuges, Forest Reserves,Panoramic Roads and National Recreation Areas”.
But the truth is, that although the Dominican Republic, has a legal framework that is consistent with international guidelines, it seems that efforts vanish on the way, since both the Dominican Republic and almost in the world, man, political power and large interests have become the number one enemies of nature and natural resources, because on one hand we see the efforts and on the other, we see indifference that states maintain allowing large forest devastation, as is the case of the Dominican Republic, the disaster provoked by the multinational Barrick Gold mining, authorized and supported by the State and the Dominican government.
In honor of the trees, I would like to offer you these verses of Don Alberto Cortes and the great poet Antonio Machado (in Spanish to preserve poetic integrity):
MI ARBOL Y YO
“Mi madre y yo lo plantamos
en el límite del patio,
donde termina la casa.
Fue mi padre quien lo trajo
yo tenía cinco años
y el apenas una rama.”
“Al llegar la primavera
cultivamos bien la tierra
y lo cubrimos de agua
con trocitos de madera,
hicimos una barrera
para que no se dañara.”
“Mi árbol brotó, mi infancia paso,
hoy bajo su sombra que tanto creció,
tenemos recuerdo mi árbol y yo.”
POEMA DEL ARBOL
“Árbol, buen árbol, que tras la borrasca
Te erguiste en desnudez y desaliento,
Sobre una gran alfombra de hojarasca
Que movía indiferente el viento.”