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Nigeria May Be Left Without Forest By 2010

Contrary to other countries in the region, Nigeria shows no sign of moving away from its dependence on wood for fuel.
by Staff Writers
Lagos (AFP) Jan 18, 2007
The head of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Phillip Asiodu, has warned that Nigeria may be left with no forests by 2010 due to ongoing deforestation, the News Agency of Nigeria reported on Thursday. "With so much illegal logging going on across the country, coupled with the very little replanting programmes, there may be no forest left by 2010," Asiodu said at a public lecture.

Asiodu, a fomer chief economic adviser to the president, said contrary to the recommendation of the UN Food And Agriculture Organisation that 25 percent of the country's land area should be under forest, Nigeria has only 4.9 percent.

"An FAO country report of 2003 gives total area under forests in Nigeria, natural and planted, at 4,456,000 hectares (about 11 million acres) out of a land area of 92,400,000 hectares, which is about 4.9 per cent," he said, adding that for the same year planted forests accounted for only 325,000 hectares of the total.

More than 70 per cent of the nation's population depend on fuel wood, which is not used efficiently without fuel stoves.

Contrary to other countries in the region, Nigeria shows no sign of moving away from its dependence on wood for fuel, he said.

He said an estimated 484 plant species in 112 families including many medicinal and fruit trees, are also threatened with extinction because of habitat destruction and deforestation.

Asiodu listed the consequences of deforestation which include loss of soil through erosion, reduction in soil fertility and the productivity of farms.

He advised that the ban on export of logs should be maintained until the FAO target of 25 percent of land under forest was achieved.

earlier related report
Malaysia, Indonesia floods drive timber prices
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Jan 21 - Massive flooding in Malaysia and Indonesia, the world's top exporters of tropical timber, has forced timber prices up sharply, according to a new industry report.

"The incessant rainfall and widespread flooding drove prices for Malaysian timber products sharply up," the International Tropical Timber Organisation said in its latest newsletter.

"With minimal raw material trickling in, stockists of sawnwood and plywood are marking up prices by as much as 25 percent to 30 percent," it said.

Seventeen people have been killed since unseasonably heavy rain started in December, severely affecting several areas including the southern Malaysian state of Johor, a main player in the furniture industry.

The group said neighbouring Pahang state, a major source of raw logs and sawn timber, had also been seriously affected by heavy rainfall and flooding.

"Assessment of damages to the Malaysian timber industry is ongoing and may not be known for three months," it added.

Peter Chin, minister of plantation industries and commodities, told AFP that a construction boom in the Middle East was also helping to boost timber prices.

Neighbouring timber producing giant Indonesia was also not spared, the group said.

"Export prices of timber products, especially plywood, rose sharply amidst thunderstorms and law enforcement efforts to curb illegally-harvested timber from reaching the various ports around the country," it said.

"Armed, uniform military personnel were stopping trucks for spot-checks on several highways leading to the major ports."

The timber group said that Indonesia and the European Union have agreed to begin talks to curb the sale of illegal timber products to Europe.

Indonesia has also proposed a commercial logging moratorium in the country's critically degraded forests following the widespread flooding, which was blamed on illegal logging.

The moratorium would last from six months to a year and apply to anyone felling trees for non-personal use in protected areas.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Save the Forests at Wood Pile
Out Of Africa

Millions Pledged To Save Canadian Amazon
Vancouver (AFP) Jan 21, 2007
Canada will spend 30 million Canadian dollars (25.5 million US) to preserve the world's largest coastal temperate rainforest, home to aboriginal communities and tall trees, the federal government announced Sunday. "We know there is a strong link between a healthy ecosystem, a healthy society and Canada's economic prosperity," Environment Minister John Baird said in a statement.

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