By Boris Ngounou for Afrik21

Reforestation activities continue to go strong in Eritrea. By 2021, more than three million tree seedlings have been planted across the East African country. This is according to the annual activity report, published on January 30, 2021 by the Eritrean Forestry and Wildlife Authority.

Image credit: Afrik21

Image credit: Afrik21

The Eritrean government is calling on the people to become more involved in efforts to ensure the safety and sustainability of forests and wildlife. “We aim to increase the forest cover to 10% nationwide, within the next five years,” announces Colonel Kinfe Habtom, the director general of the Eritrean Forest and Wildlife Authority. In its statement issued on January 30, 2022, the Authority gave an update on reforestation activities carried out last year.

In 2021, more than three million tree seedlings were planted across the country. According to the Forestry Authority, 45% of these trees were planted by individuals, 36% by communities, students and institutions, 17% through the student summer work program, the rest by school communities as well as members of the defence forces.

Nearly 614 500 hectares of land dedicated to wildlife 

In terms of wildlife protection, the Forestry Authority reports that nearly 614,500 hectares of land are set aside for this purpose across the country. This includes 106,000 hectares in the northern and southern Red Sea escarpments, 44,000 hectares in Gash Setit National Park in western Eritrea, and 64,500 hectares in the Dahlak Archipelago off the coast of Eritrea in the Red Sea.

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Affected by long and frequent droughts, Eritrea, where 75% of the population still lives on rain-fed agriculture, according to the World Bank, quickly understood the need to regreen its territory. Vegetation plays an essential role in maintaining ecosystems. In addition to sheltering wildlife, it regulates the water cycle. Thus, following its independence in 1991, Eritrea embarked on a vast reforestation program at the end of which nearly 27 million trees were planted.