Written By: Blessing Olorunfemi
International Day of the Forest
From cleaning the air we breathe to filtering the water we drink, shading and sheltering us from harmful UV rays, reducing the Urban Heat island (UHI) effect, providing us with medicine and varieties of food that nourishes our body, reducing stress, etc, forest provide incredible benefits to human.
About 60 per cent of the world’s forests originates from eight major sources: Brazil, Canada, China, the EU, India, Indonesia, Russia and USA; approximately 2.4 billion hectares are mainly or partly used for the production of wood (industrial round wood, pulp for paper, wood pellets, saw wood, etc ) and non-wood forest products(medicinal plant as raw material for pharmaceutical products, plant based product; for food, food addictive, animal base product; such as games, bush meat, honey, etc).
Even when called the lungs of the earth; every year more than 13.5 million hectares of forests are lost (the area is almost equal to the size of England) and this is due to industrial agriculture, timber logging and mining.
Healthy and resilient forests play a critical role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. As the largest storehouse of carbon after the oceans, forests have the potential to absorb and store about one tenth of the global anthropogenic carbon emissions projected for the first half of this century into their biomass, soils and products though at present about 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to drive from deforestation.
More than 70% of the world's total economy is directly and indirectly dependant on trees whereas wood fuel energy provides 40% of the total renewable energy of the world and in the last hundred years we have lost 50% of all the trees in the world. Why? We put profit above sustainability of our planet, we used nature as credit card with no spending limit, overdrafting animals to extinction.
The major driver for high demand of forest products is population (not just the overall size , but it's rate of growth globally, level of urbanization, migration and change in age structure).
Our footprint have become a sinkhole, not a garden and if we don't conserve what we have left, we are equally digging up our graves with our hands.
Here are few measures to promote forest management, sustainable production and consumption of forest products;
1. Improvement in the utilization of wood product in terms of adaptation and implementation of 'cascading regulation' - this implies that wood should be used in the following order of priority ; wood base product, extending their service life, reuse, recycle, bioenergy and disposal.
2. Reform of forest and land-use legislation and access right.
3. Providing support and resources for community forest management as well as creating continuous awareness on the importance of forests within communities.
4. Provision of more effective protection of critical areas of forest such as those of high conservation value and high carbon stock.
5. Government should ensure support for improvements in forest governance and law enforcement, including the establishment of timber legality verification systems and capacity-building amongst enforcement agencies, including not only forest agencies but bodies such as police and customs and those responsible for combating corruption and financial crimes such as money laundering.
As individuals you can be part of the solution and not the problem by; switching from single use plastics / products to green/biodegradable products, reuse, reduce, recycle, choose to have a smaller family, stand for tree planting cause.
When the rivers are all dried up and trees cut down, then men will realise that we can not eat money, to save nature is to save ourselves.
Written By: Blessing Olorunfemi