How tree planting can mitigate effects of climate change in Nigeria by Grace Amirikpa

How tree planting can mitigate effects of climate change in Nigeria by Grace Amirikpa

Deforestation is at the root of climate change crisis the world is experiencing today is.

Arguably, research has shown that forest loss and damage which are occasioned by population explosion, urbanization, roads construction, farming activities,  need for firewood and charcoal   production are said to contribute about   10 per cent of global warming.

Though tree cutting has been in practice for millennia, successive government have failed to adopt sustainable measures towards encouraging tree planting as obtainable in countries like china and India  thus putting pressure on the country’s natural forests.

For instance, Global Forest Watch says from 2000 to 2021, Nigeria lost 1.14 million hectares of tree cover, equivalent to eleven percent decrease in tree cover since 2000 and equal to 587 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

In Nasarawa State, the report indicates that in 2010, the state had 13.8 hactares of tree cover over 2.4 per cent of its land area coverage.

Sadly, the state in 2021 lost 9.21 hactares of tree cover, equivalent to 3.10kt of CO2 emissions as result of illegal felling of trees.

This has accounted for    drought, perennial flood, early and late rainfall, erosion, heatwaves among others.

In fact, climate change events adversely affect productivity of women in agricultural activities, girl -child education, health and well-being of women and children.

Medical research shows that deforestation is associated with increased in malaria prevalence which is responsible for high rate of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.

Moreover, deforestation is said to be the leading cause of outbreak of infectious diseases like Ebola and COVID-19, Lassa Fever among other ailments. This is because deforestation allows animals to seek shelter in human settlements thus spreading pathogens that cause disease to human beings with more impact on women.

This situation therefore calls for all hands to be on deck towards curtailing the rate of felling of trees  in order to mitigrate its impact on the climate and environment.

At this juncture, we urge  the present administration of Bola Tinubu to sustain and consolidate on the achievements made by the Muhammadu Buhari administration   in  ensuring over 6,191, 363 hectares of land are forested through the green bond project, in fulfilment of the 2019 Paris Climate Change agreement aimed at enhancing the country’s carbon sink.

Also, the commitment made by Nigerian government at the 2023 African Climate Change summit  in Kenya towards addressing energy poverty which is one of the causes of deforestation should be matched with action by making cooking gas and solar energy available, accessible and affordable to all citizens.

On its part, Nasarawa State government should ensure the green  project  aimed at planting five million trees across the state is executed to the letter so as to recover lost vegetation.

Since governance is a collaborative effort, Non -Governmental Organisations should not be left behind in the move to make Nigeria and Nasarawa State greener by joining in advocating and promoting tree planting across the nation.

The efforts by SHEA GLOBAL Initiative supported by the United Nations Development Programme in implementing a project known as conservative and livelihood improvement for women through Shea tree value chain development aimed at promoting climate and environment resilient practices in Nasarawa is laudable and worthy of emulation.

The pilot project sited in Arikye in Lafia Local government area has trained and sensitized over 500 women on the dangers of indiscriminate felling of trees,  conservation of trees for economic purposes and  Shea butter production, apart from donating 200 gas cylinders to women as alternative source of energy.

On the whole, citizens especially women  should cultivate the culture of planting trees in their homes and surroundings to help reduce carbon emissions  and  effects of climate change on the environment.

Grace Amirikpa, a seasoned Journalist based in Nasarawa State. 

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