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Cuban Reforestation Program: without vain glory

 

This is the International Year of Forests, and official data show that in the past three years the forest area of the country increased by one percent and is currently 26.2 %, the figure means 100,000 hectares more of forests, a growth difficult to achieve by developing nations, said, Humberto Garcia, director of the Institute for Research in Agro-forestry recently in Havana.

By 2015 workers with the assistance of agro forestry mass organizations and various entities, including the cooperative and farmer movement, targeted reaching 29.4 percent of the area covered, a strong enough challenge in the midst of a severe drought, which requires a rational and efficient use of water and work with efficiency, discipline, order and pro-activity, as requested by the leadership of the Revolution.

According to the National Statistics Office, before the first of January 1959 there were 14 percent of forested areas, and to have now slightly more than 25 percent has required a stable and sustained political will.

International organizations consider that Cuba is the only nation in Latin America and the Caribbean where the indicator is growing every year, while the world is losing annually. by deforestation and logging, over 13 million hectares, which significantly affects the ecosystem.

Although it cannot cope with demand, timber production in Cuba is for domestic consumption, and is governed by a law that prevents indiscriminate logging and illegal trade. In addition to improving environmental problems, the measure has a significant economic impact, as this saves millions of dollars annually by avoiding imports in that area, targeting a wide range of investments and programs such as the development of utility and telephone poles and boards.

In recent months, the Ministries of Agriculture and Sugar, with the support of the National Association of Small Farmers throughout the country are promoting the creation of integrated farm forestry, which in addition to the planting timber trees, in the same area planted fruit trees and other crops, expanding the production of food for the people and helping to recover the cost of investment in a shorter time.

From time to time the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Cuban Workers Confederation, José Martí Pioneers Organization, the Union of Young Communists and the Revolutionary Armed Forces, to name a few, call on their membership to help the planting of seedlings of timber and fruit trees.

Thus, species such as ocuje, mango, cedar and palmacia are planted, and blocks, schools, workplaces, roads and access routes to the cities are reforested, with emphasis on the replacement of breaks in the green rings oof cities and strips of river basins, reservoirs and bays.

According to specialists the ideal planting season runs from the month of June until the end of September, a period in which there is most moisture in the soil and summer heat helps the survival of the seedlings. But in truth, no provision or planning is so good for at all times and places, and the lack of systematic work, low productivity, the performance of volunteer work on rest days with no real content and proper coordination, among other deficiencies, have been present in the Cuban program of reforestation, as in other agriculture.

Undoubtedly, the Cuban Forestry sector has had it progress and achievements but we must take into consideration that our work is not perfect, thus, as was recently highlighted by Cuban president Raul Castro, this is not time to boast, nor plat fanfares or triumphalism, but to rectify things on the basis that first of all we must recognize our mistakes.

Translated by: Daysi Olano

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