Many countries dedicate a day to planting trees; this occasion is called Arbour Day. In South Africa, Arbour Day is celebrated for an entire week. Truly the importance of this week – which usually takes place during the first week of September – cannot be underestimated.

National Arbour Week is a time when South Africans of all ages, from all walks of life are encouraged to celebrate and honour the beauty and importance of trees. Thousands of people are educated on the benefits of the many different aspects of forestry. For the sake of simplification, the term ‘forestry’ is divided into three different categories during National Arbor Week.

Indigenous forests not only provide a home for wildlife, but also serve as attractions for thousands of international visitors, increasing revenue. Indigenous forests may also provide trees and herbs which are often used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of people. They provide a barrier against soil erosion and they continue to sustain their environment and support the African wildlife.

Commercial forests, are completely man-made. Their role is equally important; they provide people with jobs, and they also provide the wood which is needed in industry.

Metropolitan forests refers to the trees, plants and lawns which are grown in cities and towns across the country. Without these small pieces of greenery amidst the concrete and brick, our environments would be dull and lifeless. Breathing would also be difficult since there would be little in our environment capable of producing fresh air for us.

During the course of National Arbour Week, South Africans are provided with a better knowledge of trees and how they affect our day-to-day lives. Awareness about the dangers of forest fires is raised and emphasis is placed on the importance of the forestry industry and on trees in general. Trees are planted and landscapes are made greener. Many of the week’s events are organized by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) but sponsorship may take many different forms. Food and Trees For Africa (FTFA) also take advantage of the week to help people from poorer communities learn how to develop and maintain a food garden.

Thanks to http://www.southafrica.com/blog/national-arbor-week-in-south-africa for the information.