Tree-planting program underway in Havana

Tree-planting program underway in Havana

HAVANA, Oct. 8  Cuban environmentalist Marlon Suarez is planting new trees across the Arroyo Naranjo district on the outskirts of the capital city Havana.The 24-year-old has joined a program aimed at planting thousands of trees across the city in the coming years.

“Trees are fundamental to living in harmony with nature,” he told Xinhua. “We are determined to make Havana a greener and cooler place.”

Elsewhere in the city, university student Leidys Cruz was reading a book in the shade at Havana’s Metropolitan Park.

“I live within a 15-minute walk of this beautiful green space,” she said. “I come here to relax and breathe fresh air twice a week. This is important for my health.”

Hurricane Ian recently hit western Cuba with heavy rains and gusting winds, bringing down over 1,000 trees.

According to Cuba’s Forest State Service, 1.7 million more trees need to be planted in the country’s most populous city, which is home to nearly 2.2 million inhabitants.

Additionally, there are currently some 240,640 aging trees in Havana’s parks, avenues, and green spaces.

Alexander Motolongo, director of the Havana Agroforestry Company, said that there are 3,500 hectares of protected forest on the city’s periphery.

“Trees purify the air, help maintain biodiversity in urban ecosystems, and contribute to combating climate change effects,” he said.

Oak, sea grape, and cedar trees are among the species being planted in Havana, Larisa Castillo, director of horticulture and landscaping at Cuba’s National Botanical Garden, told Xinhua.

“Urban trees provide shelter, food, and protection to different species of animals as well as social and economic benefits,” she said. “Trees are a source of life.”