In 2020, Walloon Minister of the Environment, Céline Tellier launched an ambitious initiative to plant one million trees and 4000 km of hedgerows. Halfway through the legislature, Tellier has taken stock of the project and the results have exceeded, on the most part, her expectations.
Designed to aid the biodiversity of Belgium, fight against extreme climatic events, protect the landscape from soil erosion, and help reduce carbon dioxide before her term was over, last September, the minister reviewed the “Yes, We Plant” initiative after a year of progress, and was heartened to see that 500,000 trees had been planted.
Today, six or seven months later, in an orchard in Gesves, she announced 1327 km of hedgerows and more than 1.3 million trees had been planted or were in the process of being planted.
With two years still to go, many of the goals are still in sight and the target for trees has already been exceeded.
While these figures also include those trees and hedgerows planted along road networks or waterways under “obligation” by public services and others planted in towns and villages devastated by last year’s floods, the statistics show that the “Yes, We Plant” initiative is making positive progress.
The initiative is funded by a budget of €10 million, which also supports the planting of orchards. Part of the funding goes to the maintenance of the seedlings already in place.
It has also been used to adapt and support a production sector that had hitherto been neglected and which required supplies from outside the Region to meet demand.