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Depletion of forest resources worries minister

By News Express on 04/06/2016

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Some economic trees such as Mahoganies, Masonia, Obeche and Iroko, are disappearing fast from the Nigeria’s forest, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, has said.

Mohammed made this observation on Friday at a-one-day ‘Emergency National Stakeholders Meeting’ organised by the ministry to find solutions to the country's deplorable forest situation.

She said although, Nigeria had abundant forest resources, spanning through Savannah woodlands, grassland Savannah, plantations and trees, government was concerned with the current depleting condition.

“Across the various states, there is unprecedented rate of deforestation and forest degradation, arising from intensive logging of timber for export and fuel wood extraction for domestic energy use purposes.

“Also, wood extraction for charcoal production for the export market is on the increase.

“More than ever before, there is a torrential increase in the number of people entering the wood export business.”

The minister explained that apart from wood extraction, there were other human activities, including indiscriminate bush burning, mass land clearing for agriculture and urban expansion among others responsible for deforestation.

According to Mohammed, currently, Nigeria’s percentage of forest is less than six per cent, as against the recommended 25 per cent by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

“This calls for urgent attention. Many states now see the forest as the main source of revenue generation and yet, little or nothing is being ploughed back for the forestry development.”

The minister noted that the activities of timber merchants, including foreigners, who engaged in some illegal deals, were not also helping matters.

“The forestry sector is also challenged by outdated policies and regulations, inadequate manpower and low capacity for enforcement at the various levels of government.”

Mohammed said that the meeting would identify the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation and come up with useful solutions.

Directors of Forestry in the Ministries of Environment from across the 36 states of the federation were in attendance. (NAN)

•Photo shows Amina Mohammed.

Source News Express

Posted 04/06/2016 1:03:10 PM


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