I REFER to the report “Xavier: Reforestation is the way forward” (The Star, Aug 19) and would like applaud Dr Xavier Jayakumar’s support for a massive reforestation programme. While I also support reforestation, I would like to bring the following points to his attention.
1. Reforestation is not a magic bullet to solve environmental issues such as access to water, floods and landslides. It is time-consuming, costly and there isn’t a 100% guarantee of success. Reforestation failures in northern Nigeria and marginal success in southwest China are good examples. There is also no guarantee that reforested lands will be able to provide sufficient and effective ecological services such as water catchment, watershed protection, flood and erosion control. Furthermore, reforestation is a classic “treat the symptom, not the cause” approach. It should not divert us from addressing the fundamental problem – deforestation.