The call by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) for the restoration of the nation’s forest cover to at least 25% through the Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) appears to be gaining momentum and support from both the public and private sectors in the country.
In an apparent bid to nip the gloomy but probable prediction that Nigeria’s landscape may wear a semblance devoid of forest cover over the next 30 years, NCF had, through the GRN Initiative, a multistakeholder platform for re-greening the nation’s landscape, enjoined all and sundry to engage in aggressive tree planting and responsible forest management to assuage the consequences of a desert experience.
In response to the call, the Anamelo Forest Concession Limited (AFCL) has launched a community engagement and tree planting programme in Tumbuyan Village, Ilesha-Ibaruba – a community in Kwara State – to build local capacity in tree nursery operations, tree planting and woodlot establishment for energy purposes.
The CEO of AFCL, Mr. Edward Ayeni, stated that it is the responsibility of economic actors in the forest sector to ensure the sustainability of the forest so as to secure their businesses and livelihoods. He acknowledged that forest businesses would in the near future be constrained by the shrinking forest cover if actors fail to plough back into the environment. He revealed that AFCL have been able to plant 7,000 seedlings in areas previously deforested with support from the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) and NCF. An area measuring over 65 hectares of marginal land had been earmarked for rehabilitation in the coming years and AFCL will scale-up efforts in subsequent years to secure the livelihood of the communities through sustainable agroforestry management.
The Emir of the Ilesha-Ibaruba Kingdom, Professor Halidu Abubakar, was impressed with the initiative as he expressed profound appreciation and lauded AFCL for bringing the community to limelight through the tree planting initiative. He promised the support and commitment of the community to the project.
The Emir extended gratitude to NCF, FRIN and the Kwara State Ministry of the Environment and Habitat for availing the community with technical support and other logistics in the area of tree planting. The Director General of NCF, Mr. Adeniyi Karunwi, who said that the forest is the backbone of rural economy, extolled the dynamic efforts of Mr. Edward Ayeni in driving the community tree planting inauguration at a scale unparalleled in recent history of tree planting efforts in the state.
“With NCF’s renewed role as the environmental watchdog and whistleblower, we are committed to our vision of a country where people live in harmony with nature. Forest stakeholders and users are therefore encouraged to refrain from unsustainable forest practices and report progress made in the area of forest landscape restoration in Nigeria for proper documentation and future reference. NCF is partnering with Anamelo on the project through monitoring and assessment in accordance with global best forestry practices,” Karunwi stated.