Nigeria is blessed with abundant forest and natural resources. However unsustainable utilization of this resources has led to serious environmental problems such as climate change. Recent statics by Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) revealed that Nigeria has less than four percent of forest cover with 96% gone, losing about 400,000 hectares of its land to deforestation annually.
Trees are an important component of the environment and makes communities livable and beneficial to our mental health. Trees help to conserve water, boost soil fertility and food security, provides oxygen and reduced erosion especially for waterlogged areas. There are several benefit trees can offer us if we allow it to thrive.
Climate change has become a global problem and African countries are more vulnerable to its effect. One of its effect is the current spread of locust which has spread though Uganda, Kenya and has destroyed farmer’s investment which can further lead to food insecurity. Others include increase in intensity of heat, flooding which can lead to loss of lives and property, drought, desertification and we can eventually lose our planet. Hence why President Muhammadu Buhari in a recent article published in the prestigious American, outlined a proposal he had made at the united nations climate summit in New York back in September for the planting of 25 million trees to combat climate change in Nigeria. This is a serious call to several non-governmental organization and research institute in Nigeria.
In my years of witnessing tree planting activities both in the government and non-governmental tree planting activities, I have witnessed tree planting done without any post management plan for the seedlings to grow in its new environment leading to their death. Post planting activities and monitoring should be a priority for any tree planting carried out. This include involving the general public about the activity carried out as well as location to create awareness. This will create the consciousness of activities carried out to prevent future damages in the environment. Energy put into tree planting should also be put for its management.
PROPOSED SOLUTIONS FOR TREE POST-PLANTING
Government should allocate few funds for post planting activities as well for management at least for the first five years. This will enable monitoring, and evaluation of trees planted for the first five years to know how many trees were planted and how many trees survived. Tree planting activities should create a contract job to ensure its survival. This will enable report progress and replacement of seedlings that failed to germinate. Planting of seedlings is different from survival of seedlings and to ensure survival of seedlings it has to be monitored by personnel.
Also, there should be policies formulated for each state to have a required amount of Urban forest in their urban landscape. This will necessitate evaluation and monitoring of trees planted in order to meet with the said goals and objectives and necessary sanctions should be placed on states personnel that fails to meet the requirements.
Reforestation should be carried out in damaged land or deforested area where there will be less disturbance with strict policies and governance to protect such area as this will further lead to conservation of biodiversity. Protection of seedlings with material such as tyre or any danger notice will notify the public about the consciousness to protect trees outside the forest areas.
We should engage more in sustainable tree planting than ceremonial tree planting to achieve the purpose of planting trees.
Abisoye Temitope Rebecca