Conservationists push for 25 per cent forest recovery by 2030
AS concerns mount over the depleting of Nigeria’s remaining forest reserve, experts have advocated for sustainable Forest Regeneration and Protection Strategy, which will assist the nation to attain 25 percent forest cover by 2030.
They also stressed the need to devote more energy on advocacy and stakeholders’ engagement to protect the remaining forest cover while supporting massive tree planting initiatives throughout the country.
Speaking at the 2015 Walk for Nature organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with Lagos State Government, NCF President, Philip Asiodu noted that forest’s impacts in the daily lives are so important in so many ways, from the air, the food, the clothes, and in many other ways. He added, “it is crucial for all to see the need to support efforts on forest recovery in Nigeria.”
The event on the theme “Forest Recovery our Mandate to Sustain the Earth” attracted participants from all nook and crannies of Lagos, including government officials, environmentalists, representatives of corporate organisations and students.0
Asiodu said: “Despite our dependence on forests, we are still allowing them to disappear. Unfortunately, when we take away the forest, it is not just the trees that go. With dire consequences for all of us, the entire ecosystem begins to fall apart, which results in soil erosion, disruption of the water cycle, loss of biodiversity, climate change, flooding and drought, and so on.
“From 1960 to date, Nigeria has lost about 30 percent of its forest cover due to deforestation and habitat degrading activities like forest clearance for farmlands, logging and unsustainable land-use practices, which has resulted in the loss of biodiversity and the reduced functioning of our ecosystems”, lamented Asiodu, noting that at independence, Nigeria still had about 35 percent forest cover and today the figure is less than five percent.
“There is no doubt that an improvement in vegetation cover will not only enhance livelihood but promote Nigeria’s ecological integrity while ameliorating the impacts of climate change.
“Let me reiterate the fact that it behoves on the leadership and the elite in Nigeria to adopt and energetically implement a comprehensive Agenda for the Environment – perhaps a new 2030 Agenda which would only require a minor updating of the Environment Chapter of the abandoned Vision 2010. This corrective agenda must be a long-term programme with properly sequenced measures to be implemented immediately and to last for two decades or more”, said Asiodu.
The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Babatunde Adejare in his remarks said that as a people, Nigerians need to do more to preserve nature so that people can live in peace.
According to him, nature must be guarded with passion because of the future generation.
“We need to recognize our responsibility in promoting a healthy environment for posterity. Nature has fed us, cured us, and protected us. But today the roles have switched. We need to feed nature, we need to cure it and protect it if we want to secure a healthy and prosperous future for our children”, he said.