Food and Agriculture Organisation ( FAO) of United Nations and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation plus( REDD+) organised a five- day workshop in Ondo State to tackle the menace of deforestation.
Speaking at the workshop on Tuesday in Akure, Mr Waheed Badmus, the Commissioner for Natural Resources, noted that efforts of FAO to expand REDD+ activities to the state were quite commendable.
Badmus said that signs of climate change are already visible around the globe as global temperatures continue to rise; glaciers have shrunk,ice on rivers and that lakes are breaking up earlier and extreme weather events are increasing.
He added that the changing patterns could influence agricultural crop yields, affect human health and cause changes to forest and other ecosystem.
According to him,deforestation and forest degradation account for about 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, adding that the role of forest in carbon storage is now being acknowledged.
The commissioner welcomed the development of REDD+ in boosting forest carbon stock.
“REDD+ enhances the financial value for the carbon stored in forest,offering incentives to reduce emission from forested lands and invest in low carbon path to sustainable development.
” REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation but it encompasses the roles of conservation, sustainable management of forest and enhancement of forest carbon stocks,” he said.
Badmus highlighted some of development strides of the state government of the forestry sub-sector to include: adoption of REDD+ cardinal principle to address climate and forest problems, placement of moratorium on logging activities in some of the state forest reserves.
“Ondo State Government has also entered into partnership with Wewood Company and West Africa Plantation Ltd. to plant over 33,000 hectares with gmelina, teak and some indigenous species.
” The project, which has commenced, will employ at least 1,000 jobless youths,” he said.
He, therefore, thanked FAO for the workshop,saying it was a practical demonstration of the organisation to development of the forestry sector.
Similarly, Dr Moses Arma, the National Coordinator of REDD+, said that the essence of the workshop was to develop forest reference level for Nigeria.
Arma added that forestry was mainly used for timber before but said that its scope was now better.
“Today, forest is now being used for carbon unlike before and there are new technologies which we need to train people on how to use so that they can give us carbon inventory.
“We want to have people that know how to do carbon inventory and the overall objective is to reduce deforestation and forest degradation,” he said.
According to him, the partnership of REDD+ with the state government will benefit its citizens.
He recalled that Nigeria has one of the largest forestation in the world,hence need to partner with states of the federation for conservation.