Some of the participants at the National Tree Day 2022 event in Bunia, Ituri Province. Each of them planted a tree in celebration of the day.
On 5th December, 2022, DRC celebrated the National Tree Day under the theme "Technical Reforestation Routes: Role of a Tree in the School Environment".    A consortium of 25 civil society organizations working on environmental protection within Ituri Province organized a community sensitisation and action event on the effects of deforestation and its contribution to climate change,  and fostering afforestation as the immediate action to repulse the effects.
It is estimated that between 2002 and 2021, Ituri province in DRC lost 297,000 hectares of humid primary forests, which represents 66% of its total Tree Cover Loss during the same period.  The total area of wet primary forests in Ituri decreased by 7.5% during this period.  From 2001 to 2021, Ituri lost 463,000 hectares of plant cover, which is equivalent to a decrease of 8.2% of the plant cover since 2000, and 339MT of C02 emissions.

Lately, Ituri has high occurrence of forest fires with 266 alerts reported between December 2021 and December 2022 which is even relatively low compared to previous years as far as 2012. Between the years 2001 and 2021, Ituri lost 77ha of tree cover due to fires and 463kha due to all other factors.

On the 5th of December each year, DRC celebrates the National Tree Day, a day to commemorate the importance of trees for DRC’s economy, society and environment. This is intended to remind citizens that the country’s future is tied to biodiversity and strength of its forests. For the year 2022, the day was celebrated under the theme: "Technical Reforestation Routes: Role of a Tree in the School Environment". In Ituri province, FLEVICA - a civil society organisation and a member of the Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) through the DRC Nile Discourse Forum (NDF), with support from TROCAIRE led a consortium of 25 Civil Society Organizations working on environmental protection and organized a community environment sensitisation event to mark the DRC National Tree Day.
The event drew a wide number of participants including representatives from both the local and central governments, learners and staff of academic institutions in the area, and the community at large.

At the event, participants were sensitised on the topic of deforestation, its effects on climate change, and  the benefits of reforestation to the ecosystem and the environment. Participants were equipped to become ambassadors and trainers of their communities in reforestation as the best means to repulse deforestation.

Mr. Ukelo Jonathan, Chairperson - FLEVICA
Mr. Ukelo Jonathan at FLEVICA office in Bunia
According to Mr. Ukelo Jonathan - Chairperson of FLEVICA, the challenge of deforestation is enormous in the province of Ituri and that’s why civil society is commemorating this day in collaboration with educational institutions and political authorities in order to raise massive awareness on the dangers of deforestation but also catalyze action against it through popularizing reforestation. The threat of climate change is already here; a disrupted agricultural calendar, severe floods, and excessive erosion are consequences of untimely and irrational deforestation in the Nile basin region in DRC. To foster exemplary community involvement, each participant at the event will plant a tree in celebration of the day and also contribute to the reforestation movement.

Reforestation is the action of planting trees with the aim of stopping deforestation. It consists of reviving forests that have been destroyed in the past. Unlike the natural regeneration of the forest which can take several years, reforestation is a quicker boost to nature and comes with benefits:

Reforestation is an agent to combat effects of climate change; It is becoming increasingly evident nowadays that climate change is largely linked to human activities. Globalization and modernization affect our environment both positively and negatively. Indeed, several toxic substances such as CO2 resulting from industrial development degrade our environment and the air we breathe. The rate of CO2 in the atmosphere today is higher than a few years ago and it continues to increase. Trees act as carbon sink for the environment. Therefore, the best solution to combat the excessive increase in CO2 levels in the environment is reforestation.

Reforestation is a natural control to soil erosion; Soil erosion is a worrying phenomenon, as the loss of nutrients caused by runoff water makes the land arid. The erosion process is accentuated more quickly if the ground is on a slope, which can cause landslides. Plant diversity is important to nature, so it is important to mix plants according to the depth of their roots. To restore the stability of your soils, you need plants with fleshy and superficial roots and trees come in handy. As for root crops, they make soils more permeable and allow their reinforcement thus strengthening the land. Reforestation increases rooted plants like trees that makes soil recover easily from effects of erosion.
It is important to choose small trees that will no longer cause damage to already eroded soils. Dead leaves from trees can be used as compost and good soil for eroded soils that have been very denatured. Among these plants, we can mention the Iris germanisa which serve as stabilizers for the soil near railway tracks. For sandy soils such as the seaside, marram grass is an essential plant.

Increase in rainfall patterns and amount; The intrinsic relationship between vegetation and cloud production is the presence of high rates of precipitation in certain highly diversified plant environments, such as the Amazon in South America and DRC in Africa due to dense covers. It is therefore physical mechanisms of the environment (condensation and evaporation) that involve the transport of moist air in the continent. According to the biotic bomb theory, we notice that the more an environment is populated by trees, the more it attracts rain. It can therefore be said without a doubt that reforestation is a solution to the drying up and aridity of the soil.

Mr. Ukelo Jonathan, Chairperson - FLEVICAA climate change activist volunteer demonstrates tree planting techniques to a farmer in Bunia.


Protection of the environment is a priority area for all NBD membership and it is for this reason that FLEVICA spearheaded the celebration of the National Tree Day in Ituri province.   The event exposed participants to the effects of deforestation, climate change dynamics,  and  the benefits of reforestation. Each participant got the opportunity to plant a tree in celebration of the day and putting in action the lessons learned at the event.   As deforestation in the province of Ituri is already causing harmful effects to agriculture and the environment, awareness-raising activism is to be multiplied to reduce its effects but also contribute to community resilience to climate change dynamics.


Fleuve D’eau Vive Qui Coule Aux Autres (FLEVICA) translated as River of Living Water Flowing to Others is a non-profit and non-denominational Community Development Organization based in Bunia, in the Ituri province DRC. FLEVICA is a member of the Nile Basin Discourse - subscribing through the DRC Nile Discourse Forum. FLEVICA exists to contribute to the fight against poverty, to raise the standard of living of the population and to promote inherent rights.
FLEVICA's activities are designed around nature, developing capacity of peasants, and fighting poverty through development initiatives at community level. Activities are in particular social reintegration, support for the revival of community work, the promotion of agriculture, environmental protection and food security.

Assingya Victor,
National Technical Support Expert - DRC NDF

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