France will plant 1 billion trees – or 10% of the country’s forest area – by 2030 to capture carbon and preserve biodiversity, President Emmanuel Macron told firefighters in a speech on Friday (28 October).
In France, blazes destroyed 72,000 hectares of forest this summer, or six times more than the average of the last ten years.
In his speech, Macron thanked the many hundred firefighters, foresters, elected representatives and security actors who had their part in fighting the fires that destroyed the thousands of hectares of forest this summer.
“Heroes, welcome!” the Elysée announced on its Twitter account, ahead of Macron’s speech at the Elysée Palace on Friday.
In his speech Macron also announced his new forest strategy for 2030, which aims to reinforce departmental and airborne resources.
Among the announced measures, Macron said the departmental fire and rescue services will receive a yearly budget of €150 million.
France will also grow its amphibious aircraft fleet as Macron announced an “unprecedented” €250 million will be spent have a total of 16 Canadairs by 2027, up from the current 12.
“The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron […] thanked a whole nation that has stood up,” Gregory Allione, the president of the National Federation of French Firefighters (FNSPF), tweeted in reaction to Macron’s speech.
Though France’s head of state praised the forest project, he warned that due to climate change, future summers “may not be as exceptional” as this year’s.