British High Commission plants trees ahead of larger Green Footprint Seychelles campaign
In preparation for the launch of the Green Footprint Seychelles campaign, the British High Commission organised a pilot tree-planting activity at the Salazie Trail in the Morne Seychellois National Park recently, the Commission said on Monday.
The activity which took place last Friday brought together members of staff from the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority, the British High Commission and volunteers from the Global Vision International.
The Green Footprint Seychelles’ campaign, which is set to kick off soon, is a large-scale tree-planting pilot project to support local experts to test a marketable and scientifically developed tree-planting scheme as part of Seychelles’ green recovery of tourism.
“As vaccinations begin to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in our two countries, we are moving closer to the return of tourists from the UK, and many other countries that currently have travel restrictions in place,” said British High Commissioner Patrick Lynch.
“However, we are also mindful of the longer-term decline in long-haul travel, reflecting increased concern from consumers at the carbon impact of their holidays. The project directly addresses this issue by providing a way for tourists to engage in a planting activity that has been designed to offer a sustainable and effective way of offsetting carbon,” said Lynch.
Lynch (first left) said with a combination of local environmental expertise, and entrepreneurial spirit, sustainable tourism can offer a real economic opportunity, rather than a threat. (British High Commission) Photo license: CC-BY
With European travellers becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint – the total amount of greenhouse gases that are generated by the actions of humans – the campaign is set to be part of a larger developing movement.
Driven by the local conservation and tourism experts, the Green Footprint Seychelles campaign presents an opportunity for Seychelles to use its world-leading environmental expertise and its entrepreneurial spirit, to promote itself as the green choice for European tourists.
“Consumer behaviour is changing, and the market must change to reflect that. The good news is that Seychelles is better placed to respond than almost any other country in the world. With a combination of local environmental expertise, and entrepreneurial spirit, sustainable tourism can offer a real economic opportunity, rather than a threat,” said Lynch.
The project, which started last year was delayed due to the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. During this time when very few European visitors were coming into the country, the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority had started preparing the site for the project.
The chief executive of the Authority, Allen Cedras, outlined that his team has been working to remove invasive plant species and has started producing endemic and native species that would be used specifically for the project.
“Although less than 1 percent of Seychelles is land-based, restoring terrestrial and marine coastal biodiversity is key to tackling both climate adaptation and mitigation. Maximising biodiversity can enhance productivity, ecosystem resilience and the provision of forest products and ecological services to local communities,” said Cedras.
Afforestation — when new trees are planted or seeds are sown in an area where there were no trees before — in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is a mandate of the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority. However, this is the first time that the authority partnered with an organisation to work on a scientific method of assessing the contribution that this important activity makes towards the environment and climate change impact of travel and tourism in Seychelles, through a nature-based solutions project.
Cedras added that the Authority “plans to expand this project to its other protected areas, with the hope of benefiting the country’s tourism industry.”
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