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A tree census is among a number of initiatives that the City of Cape Town is engaged in to celebrate and preserve trees and make the city more sustainable. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department is branching out its tree management plans and is planning a count of all trees in the city.

The census will help determine whether Cape Town can be classed as an ‘urban forest,’ which is an urban area with a tree cover of more than 10%. It will also allow for a tree inventory detailing the location and condition of trees and help determine how many trees need to be planted to help offset the city’s carbon emissions.

Trees are in the spotlight this month as the country celebrates Arbor Month. The yellowwood family has been designated ‘Tree of the Year’ by the National Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The City’s Recreation and Parks Department hosted an event in Khayelitsha today that included a float procession, an Arbor Month pledge and a tree planting ceremony.

‘We have had to revisit our approach to Arbor Month, specifically because of the drought and the realization that we live in a water-scarce region. So the days of large-scale planting are over. Now, it’s a case of planting smartly and taking better care of our existing trees.

‘Other threats to our trees include ongoing development, a lack of understanding in some quarters about the benefits of trees and of course illegal harvesting of trees and bark. In a country with many challenges, talking about trees might seem frivolous but the reality is that how we treat our environment today will have a massive impact on the generations of tomorrow,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Some of the benefits of planting trees and caring for them appropriately include:

· Trees absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change

· Trees provide shade in summer and shelter from the elements during winter

· Trees provide aesthetic appeal and add an estimated 5 – 15% value to any suburb or property

‘We’ve moved from Arbor Day to Arbor Week to Arbor Month; this is a signal of just how important this issue is and should be to each and every one of us. The City calls on Capetonians to help preserve this precious resource and to support tree planting while remaining mindful of our limited water resources,’ added Alderman Smith.

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