By Lola Omowaye
Ondo State Government has reiterated its determination to encourage afforestation through sustainable management of forest and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
Commissioner for Natural Resources, Alhaji Rasheed Badmus stated this during the opening ceremony of the training workshop on National Forest (Carbon) Inventory Techniques and Data collection organised by Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of United Nations held in Akure, the state capital.
Badmus reiterated the commitment of the present administration to the development of forestry, saying the government recognises the fact that forestry is the bedrock for economic survival and development of rapid global environment changes.
His words: “The efforts of the World Bank and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) at extending the activities of the Reduce Emissions On Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) to Ondo and Nassarawa States are quite commendable. This is demonstrated by your readiness to undertake a nation- wide forest inventory as a presecursor to the establishment of forest reference emission levels ( FRELs) and National Forest Monitoring System ( NFMS) for the country to pave way for monitoring, reporting and verification of results of REDD+ activities.
“The sign of climate change are already visible around the globe as global temperature continues to rise. This changing pattern with the climate can influence agricultural crop yields, affect human health, cause changes to forest and other ecosystem, or even impact our energy supply.
”Deforestation and forest degradation through agricultural expansion, conversion of land, and infrastructure development account for about 20percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, as consensus grows on the serious impacts of global climate change, the role of forest in carbon storage is increasingly being acknowledged.
“From February 2017 to date, this administration has devoted good time, energy and material resources to the development of the forestry sub- sector. In keeping faith with our vision to make the environment conducive for all, we have taken some bold steps in the forestry sector namely: ( I ) the adoption of the cardinal principle of REDD+ as a mechanism to address climate change and conserve our invaluable forests. (II) The placement of moratorium on logging activities in Osse River Park and Akure Forest reserves. (III) the state government has entered into partnership with Wewood company and West Africa Plantation Limited to plant over thirty-three thousand hectares with Gmelina, teak and some indigenous species. This project would employ at least one thousand jobless youths’.
Speaking, the National REDD+ coordinator, Nigeria, Dr Moses Ama said the organisation is partnering with the state to deal with deforestation in Nigeria and the technical team drawn from across the country would get the needed data and arrival at a conclusion to impact forestry positively after the exercise.
While giving the overview, Dr John Fonweban of FAO said the team would do the compliation, assessment and analysis of available historical data while developing and testing the samples designed for Ondo and Nassarawa states including a proposal for high samplary in other ecological zones in Nigeria.
According to him, the purpose of the visit is to get the details of Ondo State forest carbon level as part of data collection for national forest inventory for carbon in Nigeria, adding that the technical team would assist the state to achieve this.
The workshop was attended by technical teams from different ministries relevant to forestation across the country.