The Director General of Forest Research Institute of Nigeria, Dr Adeshola Adepoju, said for Nigeria to get the required forest cover as recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), it needs about 20 to 30 million hectares of land for tree planting.
Dr Adepoju who spoke to journalists on the sideline during the National Consultation of Partners of the Nigerian Forest Investment Programme, recently in Abuja, said Nigeria has five per cent forest cover and required 20 per cent more to be comfortable.
Speaking on actions taken to address the issue, Adepoju said previously four million trees were planted and that with the present government, over two million seedlings have also been planted.
“Before this administration came in, four million trees were planted within the nation’s five per cent cover but going by the green bond arrangement by this administration, over two million seedlings were planted in 843.6 hectares of land,” he said.
While urging relevant stakeholders in the forest sector to invest in forest plantation to enable the country to achieve 25 per cent forest cover, he said the National Forestry Trust Fund will be expended in best practices.
According to him, the workshop was important to enable stakeholders to come up with a robust policy on forest investment, which will also enhance the implementation of the National Forest Investment Plan.
Speaking, the Director of Environment and Natural Resources at the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr Johnson Boanuh, said the rate of forest degradation is accelerating in the face of climate change, adding that, “This is affecting the region in various ways while evidences abound in weak cooperation between the states in shared and trans-boundary forest resources management.”
He said forest degradation and deforestation in West African Region are undoubtedly the root causes of forest ecosystems depletion, which is said to have the highest deforestation rate per hectare in the world.