Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, who is also chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification, inaugurated the executive plan for the Saudi National Afforestation Program. The plan aims to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by preserving the safety of the environment and natural resources, and achieving the cultivation of 10 billion trees over the coming decades, within the framework of the Saudi Green Initiative.
The plan was unveiled after the Center completed a detailed strategic scientific feasibility study that lasted for two years to enable the Kingdom to achieve the goal of planting 10 billion trees, and acquiring sustainable irrigation methods that can be used in afforestation activities. It also aims to ensure the compatibility of the selected tree species with the vegetation cover, and their ability to adapt to the Kingdom’s climate.
The CEO of the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification Dr. Khaled Al-Abdulqader said that the national afforestation program aims to increase green spaces, combat desertification, and contribute to achieving the goals of the Saudi Green Initiative by planting 10 billion trees, equivalent to reclaiming rehabilitation of 40 million hectares of degraded lands, Saudi Press Agency reported.
He noted that the program is one of the basic and important programs that will contribute to achieving the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, by preserving the integrity of the environment and natural resources, and achieving four percent of the goals of the global initiative to reduce the degradation of lands and wildlife habitats.
Al-Abdulqader pointed out that the Kingdom is replete with more than 2,500 species of wild plants, and the program uses 350 species of them in afforestation work, which extends to include 13 regions across the Kingdom, relying on irrigation through rainwater and treated water, in addition to relying on seawater to grow mangrove forests. He noted that the center works to develop, protect and control vegetation sites and rehabilitate degraded ones, including managing and investing in pasture lands, forests and national parks, and preserving natural resources and biodiversity.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia announced earlier a road map for planting 10 billion trees, which falls within the Kingdom’s national and international commitments to address climate-related environmental challenges and improve the quality of life of citizens through the economic and social benefits that will be achieved in the long term through afforestation efforts.