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Where there is forest, there is life

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The Namibian
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THE Hindu people of India have a saying in their language stating, “if there is forest there is life and if there life there is forest.”

This supports the message of Namibia’s second Biodiversity Action Day, held at Omauni in Ohangwena region last week-end.
Although forests are only found in some areas of Namibia, they are the source of livelihood for many people wherever they occur, said Environment and Tourism Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
It is for this reason that Namibia chose the theme “Forests for People,” to celebrate the 2011 International Year of Forests.
Forests prevent soil erosion and help regulate the climate, purify drinking water and are a source of many medicinal plants.
Bees and other forest insects, she said, pollinate agricultural crops such as fruit trees and help increase yields of seeds and fruits. Nandi-Ndaitwah said desertification continues at an alarming rate and is mostly driven by agricultural expansion, unsustainable harvesting of timber and unsound land management practices.
Climate change also affects growth of forests and can cause forest dieback, the large collapse of forests and their possible transformation into an altered and degraded state.
The event was held at the Campsite of the Okongo Community Forest and Conservancy at Omauni.
The regional councillor for the Okongo constituency, Paulus Mwahanyekange the theme “Forests For People” was very significant as it informs the people of the critical responsibility they have to maintain forests.
“Forests should be managed and conserved by everyone to avoid exploitation and over-harvesting of these very important resources,” said Mwahanyekange.
Participants were divided in four biodiversity action groups namely: the forest group, invertebrate group, mammals group and the bird group.
On Saturday morning, these groups marched into Okongo Community Forest, in search of their assigned species.
Head of the Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Management project in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Konrad Uebelhor, made a presentation on how the Biodiversity Action Days came about, while Joseph Hailwa – the Director of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, gave a talk on why forest ecosystems are important.
A San traditional group, Oshushu Traditional Group, Elia Weyulu Combined School  and Onehanga Traditional Group, spiced the event with their traditional performance.
A group from Caprivi region performed a play on how to manage conservancies, while forest tales from the past were also told around the fire place on Friday evening.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut