The plan is to plant 300,000 slope-stabilising trees and over 3,000 street trees, the US Olympic Gold Medallist, Debbie Armstrong, announced on 18 October, thus restoring the devastated urban forest of the host city for the 1984 Winter Olympics. The programme, which will also involve removing land mines, which are scattered throughout the city’s extensive woodland, has been organised by of American Forests, a conservation organisation that plants trees for environmental restoration.

As well as suffering the ravages of war, during the 43-month siege of the city in the 1990’s, residents were forced to use the city and its surrounding woodland’s trees for fuel for heat and cooking, making Sarajevo, situated below steep deforested slopes, prone to landslides. The ‘Global ReLeaf Sarajevo’ programme will begin with an initial planting of 15,000 hillside trees this autumn. The aim is to restore the city’s green infrastructure to pre-war conditions and a satellite analysis will be used to aid the redevelopment of the area’s green infrastructure.

Announcing the involvement of Olympic organisations in the programme, Deborah Gangloff, executive director of American Forests, said that would “provide hope to people who have faced obstacles that few of us have had to experience”. “We hope that the entire Olympic community and people everywhere will lend support to restore Sarajevo to its former green glory,” she added.

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