This year the Central Government Tree-Planting Memorial Ceremony, hosted by the Council of Agriculture, was held at the Shihsanhang Culture Park, Bali township, Taipei County. On March 12th, 9am, President Ma, together with the Presidents of the Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan, arrived at the Shihsanhang Culture Park. They planted Common Garcinia (Garcinia subelliptica Merr.) trees, a native broad-leaf tree, in memory of Dr. Sun ye-shan. During the Ceremony, President Ma declared that by the end of this year, the Danong & Dafu Forest Park, a large-scale forest park on plain area of Hulan County, will be completed of its first phase. The government is doing the best efforts to implement the Green Forestation Project of ‘The Twelve Developments of Loving Taiwan’ policy. The goal is to create 60 thousand hectares of forest within 8 years.
President Ma said in his speech that on 1894 Dr. Sun ye-shan had pointed out the importance of forestation. He was 28 years old at that time. He wrote an article, “A Letter to Mr. Lee hong-zhang”, showing that if China wants to be strong, it must give weight to agriculture, and to value the technology of forestry. Later in 1924, while Dr. Sun was promoting the “Three Principles of the People”, he repeatedly emphasized the importance of forestation and said it is essential for preventing flood and drought. He believed that forests must be planted nationwide.
President Ma further read to the audience the sentences of ‘King Huei Liang’ written by the Chinese philosopher Mencius 2000 years ago. It says, if we log trees and use them properly, then the forest will be plentiful, which indicated the wisdom of sustainable management of forest resources. President Ma enthroned both Dr. Sun and Mencius as the advocates of tree-planting. President Ma also encouraged people nowadays to keep pace with those wise ancestors, reduce carbon emission by planting trees, and leave a better environment for younger generations.
Everyone’s small effort can turn into great power when they join together, President Ma added. During these years, the amount of carbon dioxide emission of Taiwan is getting lower one year after another. Last year, the carbon dioxide emission of Taiwan was lower by 4.4%, and it is hoped that from 2016 to 2020, the emission can be 5% lower to the level of 2005.
‘The Green Forestation’ project, one of the main items of ‘The Twelve Developments of Loving Taiwan’ policy, will add 60,000 hectares of forest to plains areas within eight years. Besides, three large-scale recreational forest parks of 1,000 hectares each will be scheduled in coming years. They are the Dongshi & Aogu Farm of Jiai County, LInhou & Sillin Farm of Pingdong County, and Danong & Dafu Farm of Hualian County. Hopefully, at the end of this year, the Danong & Dafu Forest Park will be completed of the first phase construction and open to the public.
The Minster of the Council of Agriculture, Mr. Chen Wu-Hsiung, added that the benefits of growing trees not only beautify the environment, but more importantly improve the quality of the ecosystem. Trees can absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. A tree can take in 5-10kg of carbon dioxide per year. 112 trees have the ability to counteract one years’ carbon dioxide emission caused by an air conditioner, so this goes to 200 thousand air conditioners if the 23 million people who live in Taiwan would plan a tree individually. Even on the smallest square, we should not give up planting trees, Mr. Chen Wu-Hsiung emphasized.
After the speech, President Ma, in the company of Bali Elementary School children, together with President Kuan of the Examination Yuan, President Wang of the Control Yuan, Minister Chen of the Council of Agriculture, and Mayer Chu of Taipei county, walked to the cultivation area to plant the native Common Garcinia trees. The trees were chosen for the characteristics of wind resistance, salt resistance, noise resistance, and their beautiful green texture throughout the year. President Ma put his signature on the shovel after he finished his planting. Other participants included the school children of Bali Elementary School, Mi-Tsang Elementary School, and the residents of Taipei County, also planted totally 6,000 trees during the ceremony. The tree species included Blackberry Lily, Oldhan Elaeagnus, and Boxleaf Eugenia etc. The ceremony ended at 11:30 in the morning, a recorded 1,500 people participated.