This year Robert and Nyasha (SEED's Community Development Workers) travelled to Headman Dewu's village in Goromonzi district and along with 40 local residents, planted a woodlot of over 500 trees . The day was a great success!
Saturday 4th December marked National Tree Planting day in Zimbabwe. The day is celebrated every year in Zimbabwe and not only encourages people to plant trees but provides an important means of spreading key knowledge about indigenous trees, ecosystem restoration and ways to improve livelihoods.
This year, the government announced that the Piliostigma thonningii would be the 'Tree of the Year'. The Piliostigma thonningii, or 'Multipurpose' tree, is indigenous to Zimbabwe and used by local communities as a food and timber source. The tree is prized for its ability to grow fast and has proven to be particularly resilient to bush fires. It is also believed to have medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine.
The SEED team met in Goromonzi, and with the help of Headman Dewu and the local community, they planted 501 gumtrees, as well as one Piliostigma thonningii. The gumtrees are not indigenous to Zimbabwe but are commonly used in reforestation efforts due to the ability to grow fast and their resilience. As well as being used for firewood and timber, gumtrees also have medicinal properties.
The day was enjoyed by all who attended and Headman Dewu had this to say:
“This is what we were waiting for in order for the community to understand the need to plant trees, because the level of deforestation in my area is too much, thank you SEED for teaching us to grow trees”
— Headman Dewu
Zimbabwe has more than 1, 200 known indigenous tree species, many of which are in danger of becoming extinct due to deforestation, climate change and bush fires. Compounding this is the fact that many people in both urban and rural areas, are without electricity and thus resort to firewood in order to cook food or heat homes. The 'Tree of the Year' is often at risk of extinction and it is hoped its nomination will help to safeguard it, while also increasing the biodiversity of the local ecosystem.