Nowadays, we have forgotten about Arbor Day. Not long ago, Arbor Day was designated as a public holiday; so many people were interested in it. However, most of that interest came from the fact that it was a much appreciated holiday for a busy society. With decreasing concern for the spirit of Arbor Day and with the introduction of a five-day workweek in 2006, the government decided to remove Arbor Day as a public holiday. The unfortunate part is that the removal of the holiday has not stopped deforestation or the emission of greenhouse gasses. Even though the general public has forgotten about it, Arbor Day still has great significance. For this reason YNO decided to start a campaign of giving seeds to students with the hope of putting trees on students' minds and breathing new life into the spirit of Arbor Day.
Origin of Arbor Day
In 1946, the year after Korea's independence from Japan, the government decided to have Arbor Day on the same day that King Seongjong of the Joseon Dynasty celebrated the cultivation of rice paddies in Korea. Other countries as well as Korea celebrate Arbor Day. The first tree-planting movement began in the U.S. state of Nebraska after a settler saw barren hills on his new land. He decided to plant trees, and the idea caught on. On April 10, 1872, J.S. Morton held the first official tree planting event. After that, Nebraska appointed the 22nd of March, Morton's birthday, as Arbor Day. From that time the movement has spread throughout the world. In Japan, on April 4th, the Emperor of Japan participates in their national tree planting day. In Germany, their tree planting day is always in April. In the U.S. most states plant trees during the last week of April. In China, the day is March 12th.
Interest in Arbor Day is Dwindling
Since 2006, when Arbor Day was removed as a public holiday, the participation of private citizens and corporations has dramatically decreased. In the case of medium and small sized corporations, Arbor Day campaigns have all but disappeared. Some large corporations still recognize the day, but certainly not all of them. Financial institutions do not participate much at all anymore. Last year some banks only distributed flower seeds. The most significant thing is that most students never even think about planting a tree on Arbor Day.
Reasons Why We should Plant More Trees
1) Providing healthy areas
The dense forests give off phytoncide that is beneficial for health. Areas like this allow people to have places of tranquility to relax. In addition, the forest provides a fertile and comfortable environment to us.
2) The function of air purification
CO2 is one of the most abundant greenhouse gasses. About 1 hectare of trees produce oxygen that forty-five adults can breathe. In addition, reducing CO2 levels worldwide can help to alleviate the problem of global warming.
3) Prevention of landslides and conservation of water resources
The soil in the forest conserves rain water and controls water flow. In times of heavy rain trees help to stabilize the soil prevent mudslides and landslides.
4) Natural habitat for wild animals
The forest is a natural habitat for many wild animals. By making sure these animals still have their natural habitat we can prevent clashes between people and animals that are looking for new places to live.
5) The function of natural compost
Leaves, branches, stems and roots are composed mainly of carbohydrates that were made through photosynthesis. Therefore, when they fall to the ground, they become composted and are turned into natural mulch that supplies nutrition to the soil.
The Importance of Arbor Day
The Keep the Trees Green campaign of Arbor Day is not to put into practice but it is a mental activity. Korea has succeeded in the Territory Afforestation Business since the 1960's. In the past, Korea received recognition because of its Arbor Day efforts. As time goes on, the danger of global warming is becoming a bigger threat, so Arbor Day is more important than ever.
The World's Effort to Maintain Forests
The UN created UN-REDD (United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) to coordinate worldwide efforts at reducing deforestation. Advanced countries give economic compensation to developing countries under the condition that logging is prohibited and the preservation of forests is given priority. In the case of Costa Rica, the government pays the owner of a mountain about 100 dollars per 1 hectare. The forest's value is about hundreds billon dollars.
The Threat of Global Warming
As global warming becomes more serious, it is becoming less unusual to experience frequently unseasonable weather. As a result, the earth's topography is changing. Desserts are growing, and sea levels are rising. According to NASA in July of 2000, The Greenland ice sheet is melting because of global warming. This has caused sea levels to be elevated by 23cms over the past 100 years.
Planning for Arbor Day in Daegu
Buk-gu will plant trees in Dongho-dong this year. City Hall expects about 500 citizens to show up there. Participants are composed of environmental civic group members and everyday citizens. They will plant about 1,200 trees from strobe nut pines, chionanthus retusas, to wild cherry trees and more. The Suseong-gu office will distribute trees for citizens in Beomo-dong to plant. Some citizens have already planted 750 nut pines around the middle of March in a forest fire zone in Bullo-dong and Bongmu-dong. On March 17-18th, the Daegu Arboretum held a event to give out trees. The trees consisted of a Japanese apricot tree, Gardenias, Pomegranate, Miss Kim Lilac and Japanese Cornelian Cherry. The total number of trees given out were about 10,000.