Villagers of Malaela have taken the fight against climate change to the next level—planting over 600 coastal tree species of leva, fetau, futu and pua.
About 40 people were involved in the tree planting and plants which were provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment while guava, breadfruit, lemon, sour sap, star fruit and mango came from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The tree planting partnership is part of a project coordinated by the Samoa Civil Society Support Program and Adventist Development and Relief Agency, which aims to improve village springs and biodiversity damaged by tsunami and impacts of climate change.
The village mayor of Malaela, Leota Ioane Sua, expressed his gratitude on behalf of high chief, Lesamatauanuu Telefoni Retzlaff and villagers of Malaela towards the Government and partners for their support.
“Our village was one of the villages that were in turmoil with the loss of lives and infrastructure being decimated by the 2009 tsunami.
“The tree planting will benefit the village’s coastal area from erosion as well as the need to improve resilience of the village’s surroundings to changes in the climate and reduce carbon emission. Fruit trees provide source of food and income for the village,” he said.
Leota said that it was their village that came up with the idea to address issues related to the 2009 tsunami.
“Sea walls were not enough to protect the coastal areas, there were not many old trees left that used to protect the coastal areas because many were damaged by the tsunami.
“And it takes time for them to grow and not much diversity of fruit trees available in the village hence the request to plant fruit trees.
“There were no challenges but we were grateful to the assistance provided by the M.N.R.E. staff to train the people on how to plant the trees including planting using the right spacing,” he said.
He also said that it was the first time the village participated in an official project with tree planting and our village will definitely engage in more projects with tree planting.
“There is one upcoming project exploring concepts of ‘dynamic agro-forestry’ aiming at replanting existing farms using different trees and organic methods.”