Cuba adds half a million hectares of woodland in past decade

Cuba, woodlandHAVANA, June 26 Cuba has increased its woodlands by some 464,000 hectares in the past decade, thanks to an ambitious reforestation program, the Agriculture Ministry said Sunday.

Cuba does not suffer from deforestation because the acres of woodland lost annually are fewer than the acres of woodland created, Georgina Diaz, from the ministry’s Department of Woods and Wildlife, told reporters.

“The national environmental strategy recognizes damage to forested surface area as a problem,” said Diaz, during a presentation at the International Agroforestry Convention held in Havana.

Through government efforts, the forested area of Cuba has gradually increased from 13.6 percent of national territory in 1959, to 31.1 percent today.
In 2015, with 30.6 percent forest coverage, the country surpassed the 29.3 percent goal that was set by the United Nations-led Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.

The goal of the government’s 2016-2020 Reforestation Program is to reach 34.8 percent forest coverage. Now Cuba has an estimated 3 million hectares of woodland in all.
The main threat to Cuba’s woodlands is fire, though preventive measures and detection systems have limited the damage to less than 5 hectares in 70 percent of forest fires registered.