In recent years GSNE “Orchis” has organized several biorestoration/tree planting campaigns in some semi-arid regions of Georgia, within the framework of the projects “Keep Georgia Tiday” and “Clean Up Georgia” with the financial support of the Government of Sweden, specifically in Kvemo Kartli and Shida Kartli Regions and Tbilisi Municipality. More than 50 000 seedlings of local, rare, endemic and economically valuable species were planted as a result of this endeavour. Local population including representatives of municipal authorities, teachers and students of public schools, teachers and parents of kindergartens, socially vulnerable people and IDPs living in the target regions actively participated in the biorestoration measures together with representatives of GSNE “Orchis”. Both women and men as well as girls and boys were actively engaged in these campaigns so that gender balance was achieved during implementation of all biorestoration measures. Particularly should be accentuated that 1500 seedlings of almond, 1500 seedlings of pomegranate and 2500 seedlings of walnut were handed over socially vulnerable people and IDPs living in Kaspi and Kareli Municipalities to plant in their back yards. This measure facilitates to elimination of poverty and hunger among vulnerable groups of population as well as achievement of food security and improved nutrition what are directly related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As known the restoration of vegetation cover, forests and habitats overly fosters the implementation of SDGs as well. SDGs (SDG 17) comprises wide range of issues and addresses crosscutting elements of the sustainable development such are economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
It should be mentioned that GSNE “Orchis” organized a wide scale biorestoration campaign at the so called demarcation line (with a self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia) in Shida Kartli Region and established there a “Friendship Garden”, where over 5000 seedlings of local, rare and endemic woody species were planted. Population of Gori Municipality and IDPs actively participated in this campaign, what could be considered as an action supporting peace-making process and facilitating to conflict resolution in overall.
The protection, preservation and if needed restoration of biodiversity are of high importance because the forest is the main guarantee for our existence and life. Biodiversity including forests provide various ecosystem services which are essential for human well-being. The role of biodiversity and among them vegetation and especially forests is immeasurable in this context. Forests provide direct benefits (food, firewood, timber, etc.) as well as they: represent a habitat and shelter for the wildlife; regulate hydrological systems and local, regional and global climate; control soil erosion; protect against avalanches, landslides, droughts and floods; store carbon dioxide; create recreation and relaxation zones; play notable role in economic development; etc.
Generally, forests are one of the most effective instruments for the reduction of climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, one of the major climate change contributors, and thus diminish its concentration in the atmosphere and respectively the rate of climate change. That’s why all over the world environmentalists (and not only) pay particular attention to the restoration of forests in terms of combating climate change, and that’s why the tree planting and reforestation / afforestation activates can bring particular benefits.
The restoration of vegetation cover, forests and habitats fosters the implementation of SDGs as well. SDGs (SDG 17) comprises wide range of issues and addresses crosscutting elements of the sustainable development such are economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. In this context, measures for the protection, conservation, prevention of degradation and restoration of biodiversity are essential components of the sustainable development and accomplishment of the SDGs, which could be mainly achieved through the maintenance of diverse and key ecosystem services offered by biodiversity. Such services are a prerequisite to attain the SDGs which at the first glance are not directly liked to biodiversity (e.g.: to eliminate poverty; to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; etc.) not to speak about the goals which are immediately related to the protection and restoration of biodiversity (e.g.: to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss; etc.).