The Lagos State Government says it will plant about 230,000 trees before the end of 2020 to prevent flooding, promote climate-friendly environment and agro-forestry in the state.
Special Adviser to the State Governor on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, made this known on Sunday, March 22, 2020 on the celebration of the International Day of Forest in Lagos.
Olusanya urged residents to imbibe a clean, improved and enhanced positive approach to a climate friendly environment in order to encourage agro-forestry.
She said the Department of Forestry in the ministry has been given approval to plant 100,000 trees in 2020, and part of that initiative would be targeted at schools.
“We have orchard planting that is being planted for this year.
“We want to encourage our students to get into the habit of planting, because if we, as adults keep cutting down trees and our children see us doing this, they are not learning the right things from us.
“We want to take it upon our self as a state to encourage tree planting and to include our children in it from now on so that when they grow up, they can continue the circle.
“Aside what the Department of Forestry is doing, the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority is also taking the initiative to plant about 100,000 trees as well.
“The Ministry of Agriculture for 2020 alone should be planting 230,000 trees in Lagos. We see this being implemented from June to the end of the year,” she said.
Olusanya said that the measures became imperative in order to discourage tree felling as well as prevent flooding in the state.
She said that the underlying effects of climate change had over the years led to loss of properties all over the world.
The governor’s aide said the theme: “Forests and Biodiversity” was aimed at promoting education for the love of forests, underscoring the importance of education at all levels in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.
“The importance of today’s celebration cannot be over emphasised, especially against the background of the effects of climate change resulting from the destruction of our forests.
“This in turn have killed millions, displaced millions and have led to the loss of properties and structures worth billions of dollars all over the world.
“Now is the time to educate and raise awareness of all and sundry on the importance of protecting our remaining forest cover, especially in Lagos, which is estimated at less than 0.2 per cent forest cover,” she said.
Olusanya said that climate change effects include water stress, flooding, earthquake, earth movement, flash flooding, erosion of different types and degrees due to the uncontrolled removal of forests leading to 13 million hectares of forests being destroyed annually.
The special adviser said that over 1.6 billion people of the world population, including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures depend on forests for livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter.
She said this led to a prediction in 2011 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that by 2020, if the rate of deforestation was not seriously reversed, the country would lose its entire forest cover.
“Deforestation accounts for about 20 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, regardless of the importance of forests which are the most biological-diverse ecosystems on land.
“In 2011, the world experienced a series of unprecedented effects of climate change such as ice and glaciers melting, flooding, flash flooding, erosion, forest fire, drought and water stress caused by man’s unguided and careless actions.
“Lagos was not left out of the sad experience as of July 10, 2011, low and high lands were flooded, while some areas such as Thomas Area in Ajegunle, Ikorodu, were eroded.
“This has also resulted to displacements of wildlife from their natural habitats such as reported in Omole, Gbagada and other places in the state where monkeys and baboons invaded houses,” she said.
Olusanya said that Lagos currently had over 600,000 hectares of agricultural land being bastardised by surface miners leading to the fear of the host communities being submerged.
She also said that currently, the efforts at reforestation could not be said to be proportional to the rate of exploitation which put the country at risk of losing its entire forest cover.
Olusanya urged the state residents to plant trees, protect the forest and save bio-diverse life for the present generation and generations to come.
She, thereafter, joined the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, and other stakeholders and environmentalists to plant trees to commemorate the day.
By Olayinka Olawale