The growing reforestation movement was in full display as more than 2,000 trees were planted in the hills of Malesso’ on July 24 by the Guam Green Growth Conservation Corps, a joint program of the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability, the Office of the Governor, and Guam NSF EPSCoR’s Education and Workforce Development objective.
The Corps worked alongside the Department of Agriculture Forestry Division, and more than 200 interns and volunteers.
The effort was part of the As Gadao Manell Watershed Restoration Project and one of several Island Beautification Task Force activities organized by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Guam to commemorate Guam’s 77th Liberation Day.
“[The Forestry Division] is trying to plant trees to prevent erosion, to put back and recover native and endemic species, and try and solve some environmental issues out there,” Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio said. “Tree planting this morning is one of the very critical pieces in the plan.”
The G3 Conservation Corps members spent the week prior working alongside the DOA team preparing the land for the planting event.
“We spent about four days bush-cutting in a very specific manner, taught by the forestry team, to prepare the land for this event, and it made it so easy for the volunteers to come in and plant so many trees,” said G3 Conservation Corps member Joey Certeza. “Preparing the land, and now seeing it with so many people helping out, is very satisfying and gratifying.”
The corps members created contour lines in the southern ridge to create space for trees to be planted and pruned previously planted acacia trees (Acacia auriculiformis) to prepare for the introduction of understory natives to develop a native forest.
“We are working to convert the highly fire-prone landscape, which is dominated by invasive grass species, to forested lands,” said Christine Fejeran, the Forestry and Soil Resources Division chief at the Guam Department of Agriculture. “The acacias help amend soils and shade out the grasses giving native trees a chance, once planted.”
The G3 Conservation Corps is a newly launched workforce development program preparing the local community for the emerging green economy. It is part of the Guam Green Growth initiative, the island’s most comprehensive public-private partnership ever created to achieve a sustainable future for the island.