BUJUMBURA January 23rd (ABP) – Eucalyptus is a large tree originating from Australia and neighboring archipelagos whose leaves are used in fumigation and cigarettes, according to Larousse.
According to a study conducted by FAO in 2009, eucalyptus is a type of tree that has more than 500 species. It has become the most planted tree type in the world. The extensive planting of that species outside its native environment began in 1904 in Brazil. Eucalyptus is native to Australia, the Malaysian region and the Philippines. That species of tree was introduced in East Africa between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
Already in the early 1970s, the area covered by eucalyptus in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Sudan reached 95 984 ha in the 1980s, according to the FAO. Concerns about the negative impacts of eucalyptus on the environment have raised doubts about the planting of that species. These doubts have resulted in the ban on the planting of eucalyptus on arable lands, riverbanks and water catchment areas. The claim of negative environmental impacts of eucalyptus is a global narrative. For this, FAO tries to give impartial considerations by mandating several global, regional and national studies. The reports seem to have three categories of supporters, eucalyptus growers, environmentalists and researchers. Eucalyptus planters obviously support the planting of eucalyptus, while environmentalists, supported by farmers, insist on its negative impact. The third category (that of the researchers) focuses on a careful and equitable evaluation of the arguments for and against this tree. Major arguments against eucalyptus include the fact that this tree dries water resources, reinforces soil erosion, removes undergrowth, depletes soil nutrients and causes allelopathic effects. Important arguments supporting the planting of eucalyptus include the fact that this tree species grows rapidly, requires little maintenance, grows in large ecological zones and in a poor environment, grows in size after harvest, resists hazards and environmental diseases, and its seeds are easy to collect and conserve. Pretreatment before planting is not necessary. Note that eucalyptus is the multipurpose tree species in Burundi and occupies a large area of plantation throughout the country.