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CUBA
Protecting their forests
4/20/2011
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Reforestation program is considered the most advanced in the region.

Cuba is the country with the highest proportion of their forest area designated for protective functions in Latin America and the Caribbean, confirms the report “State of the World’s Forests 2011,” recently published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This Caribbean island has a reforestation program, initiated in 1998, that led to a 100,000-hectare increase of the country’s woodlands. Currently, 26.2 per cent of Cuba is covered by forests, and by planting more than 57,000 hectares per year, by 2015 the wooded area will surpass 29 per cent.

Carlos Alberto Díaz Maza, National Forestry director and secretary of the National Commission for Reforestation, assured that “60 per cent of the forests are for conservation, and they safeguard our coastline, our river basins and soils, as well as protected areas.”

While Cuba is one of the top 12 countries in the world that plants trees, Díaz Maza considers it necessary to “continue to protect our forests, to improve them, taking care to avoid forest fires.”

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela are the countries with the largest amount of forests in the region, with 84 per cent of the total, according to the FAO. However, in Central America and South America there has been significant deforestation due to agriculture and urbanization; whereas in the Caribbean, thanks in large part to Cuba’s efforts, forested areas have remained stable since 1990, says the report.

“The forest area designated for protection of soil and water resources represented 7 per cent of the total forest area in the region [Latin America and the Caribbean], compared with 8 per cent globally. This area increased slightly, 0.83 per cent, between 1990 and 2010, with virtually all of the increase being in the Caribbean, where protected areas increased by 64 per cent. The countries with the highest proportion of their forest area designated for protective functions were, in descending order, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, and Honduras,” the FAO document said.
—Latinamerica Press.


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