On 1 June 2015, which in Lao PDR marks both Children’s Day and Tree Planting Day, SNV joined local schools and officials in Attapeu Province in educational tree planting activities. The SNV REDD+ team is working in this area as part of a project supported by USAID LEAF. This Lao national holiday is intended to raise the awareness of people, especially children, of the importance of trees and the value of forests to the country. Annually on June 1, people are encouraged to plant trees, in line with Article 47 of Lao Forest Law, which promotes tree planting.
This year, a special celebration was help in Sompoy village, Xanamsay district of Attapeu province, located in the southern part of Lao PDR. More than 100 people attended, including local media, representatives from local and provincial government offices, villagers, and students from Sompoy Primary School, where the event was held. Over 1,000 seedlings were planted over a 74 hectare area, which includes 2ha for enrichment planting and 72ha for natural regeneration. These seedlings included several local species with market value, in order to reverse trends of deforestation in the area and to create future income generation opportunities for rural households. Another 2,500 seedlings were also provided to other villages nearby for planting.
The importance of the involvement of children in such activities cannot be understated, as it is an important aspect of raising awareness of the value of forests to people’s livelihoods. The students were excited to be part of a hands-on learning activity, and in contributing to the improvement of their community.
SNV is currently working in this district as part of the Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) project, funded by USAID and in partnership with the Lao Department of Forestry. The project aims to improve forest management practices and policies in anticipation of REDD+ frameworks, while seeking to enhance and protect forest carbon stocks. Xanamxay district of Attapeu province in one of the two pilot sites for this project in Lao PDR.