Reviving forest in the Sherpherds

Forestry officers offloading seedlings on Emae. Seedlings could die due to salt spray if they are shipped Photo: Live & Learn

Since cyclone Pam caused intensive damage to forests in Vanuatu a year ago, a dynamic non-government organisation (NG0)

, Live & Learn, has been taking steps continuously to return the greenery and state of forest in Shefa Province.

People heavily rely on forest for livelihoods.

Reviving the ruined forests through supplying free commercial tree seedlings is a long-term focus of the NGO for sustaining lives after suffering terribly last year.

While the trees are growing back slowly, Live & Learn, through its Tropical Cyclone Pam Recovery Program has been distributing tree seedlings in affected areas in the Tongoa and Shepherd Islands including Epi and Paunangisu at North Efate.

Forest industry is a major source of income for rural communities as they depend on subsistence farming, the NGO has stressed.

Live & Learn aims to assist communities re-establish food gardens, linking them with opportunities for long-term income generation.

Seedlings that were given out are mahogany, whitewood, sandalwood and namamau (poumuli).

According to the Live & Learn TC Recovery Project Coordinator, Jesse Kampai, over 1,000 seedlings were received by farmers.

A heavy rain last Friday did not stop the distribution of tree seedlings. The seedlings were transported by plane. Coordinator Kampai said poor handing via sea transport could cause the seedlings to die due to salt spread, something that the department of forestry have had experienced.

While thanking Live & Learn for the tree and vegetable seedlings, a church leader from Emae Island, Harry Daniel conveyed in a statement that most of the islands in Shefa are still recovering.

Apart from the seedlings, he also applauded the project for its previous delivery of 51 kumala varieties.

“This assistance is what we really need after cyclone Pam.

“We have lost massive areas of our forest and crops. But, with these seedlings we are hoping to a stock of trees for timbers to sell or build more homes in the coming years”, said another villager, Firiam Robinson.

The delivery of seedlings commenced following a three-day training on nursery establishment, management and agro-forestry organised in partnership with the departments of forestry and agriculture as implementing partners.

The Live & Learn recovery project derives from its Pacific Risk Resilience Program aided by the United Nations Development Program in partnership with the departments of agriculture and forestry.

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