Stakeholders seek policies, law to shore up forest cover
Following growing concerns about the alarming rate of forest degradation and deforestation, stakeholders have called for appropriate policies, legislation and institutional framework targeted at increasing Nigeria’s forest cover.
They also agreed that forest development projects should be mainstreamed in National and States’ budgets, and sustainable livelihood alternatives should be vigorously explored to reduce pressure on natural resources.
Coming under Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) initiative, the two-day summit in Lagos and organized by Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on re-greening Nigeria, agreed that there should be concerted efforts by the Federal, State Governments and other stakeholders towards afforestation and reforestation in the country.
The GRN is intended to harmonize actions targeted at rapid reversal of the loss of forest cover and consequently curbing the rapidly increasing threats to the natural environment as well as preventing the potentially drastic consequences on the planet.
Nigeria had about 40 per cent of its total land area under forest cover at independence, but sadly today, the country is left with only 4 per cent – 7per cent of its total land area under forest cover.
This is a far cry from the recommendation by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) urging that 25 per cent of the country total land area should be under forest cover.
Essentially, they noted that private sector participation should be encouraged/incentivized and sought for improved synergy between Federal and State Governments on sustainable forest management in Nigeria.
NCF Director General, Adeniyi Karunwi said that forest is a renewable natural resource whose stock can become diminished and/or exhausted if the rate of exploitation exceeds its natural regenerative capacity.
“GRN is to serve as a viable platform to build network and establish a coalition of environment ambassadors to raise public and government support and the resources needed not only to stem the loss of the Nigeria’s forest cover but to gradually and consciously build and restore the nation’s forest cover to at least 25 per cent of the total land area of the country in the next 30 years (2017 – 2047),” he said.