Subject: LUSA: Friday is First National Tree Planting Day

East Timor: Friday is First National Tree Planting Day 11 Jan-20:29

East Timorese and foreign dignitaries will on Friday take part in ceremonies to mark East Timor's first national tree planting day, with a program aiming to combat the erosion affecting a number of areas in the half-island territory.

The initiative aims to contribute towards making best use of existing resources in East Timor, states a communique sent Thursday to Lusa in Dili by the organizers - the East Timor Foresters Group.

Part of the problem reportedly stems from slash-and-burn methods used by local farmers.

"A large percentage of East Timor's forests are severely degraded, which clearly aggravates ground conditions in those regions", the text states, adding " Dili should be a cool city with the hills around it always green".

To combat the situation, the organizers have prepared thousands of seeds from some of East Timor's most common trees, which will in a first phase be planted at various sites on the hills above the capital city.

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