400K ha deforested

What is affected
Type of violation Demolition/destruction
Date 27 November 2011
Region AFA [ Africa anglophone ]
Country Nigeria
Location forest land

Affected persons

Total 0
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution

Land losses

- Land area (square meters)

- Total value

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Interntl org.
Private party
Brief narrative

Nigeria: The Federal Government (FG) loses 400,000 hectares of forest land to deforestation after being ranked as the most notorious country of deforestation. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has said that Nigeria has lost about 400,000 hectares of forest land to deforestation.

The Director General, IITA, Mr. Nteranya Sanginga, explained that in Nigeria, deforestation or loss of vegetation or the selective exploitation of forests for economic or social reasons is about 3.5 per cent. The Director General disclosed this during the official launch of the Nigerian Field Society Young Explorers (NFSYE) in Ibadan, Oyo State. To salvage the situation, Sanginga said getting the youths involved in conservation could help preserve the African forests, sustain efforts on reforestation, and slow down the alarming rate of deforestation and natural resource degradation in the country. He said between 1990 and 2005 alone, the world lost 3.3 per cent of its forests and the Guinean Rainforest (GRF) of West Africa, identified over 20 years ago as a global biodiversity hotspot, reduced to 113,000 km2 at the start of the new millennium which was 18 per cent of its original area. The consequence of this situation has led to global warming and climate change that is now affecting agricultural production, Sanginga said. Also apart from deforestation, we also have the loss of biodiversity and soil degradation. All of these are contributing to the low yields that farmers are now experiencing in the field, he added. Nigeria`s first professor of forestry and the immediate past president of the Nigerian Field Society (NFS), Mr. David Okali, noted that the impact of deforestation and degradation on the environment and livelihoods is enormous. Meanwhile, the current president, Mr. Funso Adeniyi, emphasized the importance of forming the youth wing of the NFS, the oldest NGO in Nigeria which is now 81 years old. The time for action is now and the youths, who will soon be the custodian of these resources, must be involved, he said. Recent studies show that forests in Nigeria now occupy about 923,767 km2 or about 10 million ha. This is about 10 per cent of Nigeria`s forest land area and well below the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAOs) recommended national minimum of 25 per cent. Scientists say that one of the principal drivers of this environmental change across West Africa has been the expansion of low-input smallholder agriculture that depends on environmentally destructive practices such as slash-and-burn and land clearing. Other factors driving deforestation include infrastructural and estate development. A consultant and coordinator of the IITA-Leventis Foundation project, Dr. John Peacock, noted that agricultural intensification could help reduce the rate of deforestation in the region. If farmers get improved seeds and inputs such as fertilizers, and are trained, they would not need to slash and burn or embark on practices that will harm the forests, he said. This makes IITA`s work on improving the productivity of crops a cornerstone in curbing deforestation and soil degradation, he added Chairman of the newly launched NFSYE, Mr. Dipo Ajiroba, commended the Nigerian Field Society and the IITA-Leventis project for making the youths the vanguard of forest protection and natural resource management. He promised that the organization would recruit youths who are committed to the cause of environmental protection and raise awareness on the negative effects of deforestation, as a response in curbing forest loss. Inaugurated in early 2010, the IITA-Leventis Project include restoration of the existing IITA forest, control of invasive species, multiplication and preservation of indigenous species, and replanting of the forest to control erosion, protect watersheds, and increase biodiversity. To date the project has propagated over 36,000 young trees of more than 60 different species from seeds, cuttings, and wildlings collected from the IITA campus. Some 3000 of these have been planted along a 2.6-km stretch of former farmland within IITA. In the coming years, the project plans to plant more trees on the 1000-ha Ibadan campus which is also home to one of the few surviving secondary forests in West Africa. See Original Text: http://allafrica.com/stories/201111280452.html

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