Macedonia — Macedonian opera singer Boris Trajanov has launched an initiative to plant 2 million trees throughout the country’s mountains, one for each citizen of Macedonia. About 200 seedlings were already planted earlier this year at Breznica, near Skopje, an area ravaged by a large forest fire last summer.
“The feeling to have earth in one’s hands by planting life provides enormous pleasure,” said Trajanov, the UNESCO Artist for Peace.
He said he wants to see Macedonia once again become the country with the most forests in the Balkans, relative to its size. Through the campaign, the public will be providing an example of how to cope with climate changes, he added.
The initiative has been widely supported, including by the government, USAID, the European Commission (EC), Macedonian Forest Public Enterprise and the Faculty of Agriculture, various municipalities, state institutions, media, marketing agencies, companies and embassies.
It has also won the backing of most parliament members from across the political spectrum. Trajanov is urging the MPs to approve a larger budget for forestation and pay more attention to environmental protection.
The main event of the forestation initiative will be held under the motto “The Day of the Tree — Plant Your Future” in 25 locations on March 12th. Trajanov has invited the public to pitch in.
Fires ravaged an estimated 35,000 hectares of forest last summer. Kole Vasilevski, dean of the Faculty of Forestry in Skopje, says the greatest damage caused by the forest fires was to biodiversity. In his estimate, restoring the damaged ecosystems will take between 50 and 100 years.