Over a Quarter of Cuba's Surface Covered by Forests

News from Cuba | Tuesday, 5 June 2012

from the Cuban News Agency

The program of reforestation Cuba has carried out for the last 50 years allows it to boast that forests cover now 27.27% of the country�s surface.

At a press conference in Havana city Elizabeth Russo, director of State Forestry Service in the Ministry of Agriculture, highlighted the boost the new comprehensive forest farms gives to this environment -friendly program.

She said they are currently encouraging the establishment of agro-forestry systems in order to increase the presence of trees in the landscape, as an alternative to reduce soil erosion, preserve biodiversity and support food security.

Russo told ACN news agency that they worked steadily to achieve that purpose, but the pace of planting should be increased this year by addressing areas that have not been included in the forest heritage, and in order to determine them they are using aerial photographs.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics and Information show that in 1959 the country had only 13.4% of forest cover, where the abandonment took precedence along ruthless exploitation of forests.

Recently, Gustavo Rodriguez, Minister of Agriculture, said that forestry activities are among his Ministry�s priorities to boost food production and development of biodiversity.

Rodriguez said that while each year forest reserves in the world decrease, Cuba is applying strategies in order to arrive at 2015 with more than 29% of its area covered by forests.

The United nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that each year more than 130 000 square kilometers of forests are lost due to the effects of deforestation, conversion to agricultural land, unsustainable harvesting of timber, inappropriate land management practices, and building of human settlements.

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