Amazon Countries Meet To Bolster Rainforest Protection

Firefighters try to control a fire near Charagua, Bolivia, in the border with Paraguay, south of the Amazon basin, on August 29, 2019. Fires have destroyed 1.2 million hectares of forest and grasslands in Bolivia this year. PHOTO: AIZAR RALDES / AFP


Presidents and ministers from seven Amazon countries met in Colombia on Friday to agree on measures to protect the world’s biggest rainforest, under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation.

The summit took place in the wake of an international outcry over months of raging fires that have devastated swaths of the Amazon in Brazil and Bolivia.

The gathering aimed “to foster a space for regional dialogue to advance the protection and sustainable use of this region, which is essential for the survival of the planet,” Colombia’s President Ivan Duque said.

Duque inaugurated the meeting in a “maloka” – an indigenous hut – surrounded by members of the Tikuna tribe with headdresses of colored feathers in southern Colombia’s Amazon city of Leticia.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, widely criticized over policies that favor deforestation and a delayed reaction to the wildfires, did not travel to Leticia, citing doctors’ orders.

However, speaking by videoconference, he urged other leaders to resist calls, spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, to internationalize protection of the Amazon.

“We must take a strong position of defense of sovereignty so that each country can develop the best policy for the Amazon region, and not leave it in the hands of other countries,” said Bolsonaro, who is due to undergo surgery Sunday.

Protection Pact

Seated at a long wooden table in the shade of tall trees, the representatives of the seven nations signed the “Leticia Pact for the Amazon” that Duque said would provide greater protection for the rainforest, as existing treaties had “fallen short.”

The pact establishes a roadmap for safeguarding the rainforest “not only for the Amazon countries but also the nations of the region and the international community,” he said.

Colombia’s Environment Minister Ricardo Lozano said the new measures include the establishment of an “Amazonian cooperation network” to share information on deforestation, including weather data to mitigate the effects of climate change, and threats from illegal mining and logging.

“We needed to increase and strengthen the cooperation between us, precisely to meet the great challenges of the Amazon, which are becoming more extreme and more intense every day,” he told reporters in Leticia.

Aside from the host Duque, other presidents attending were Peru’s Martin Vizcarra, Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Suriname’s vice-president Michael Adhin and Guyana’s natural resources minister Raphael Trotman also attended.

Brazil was represented by Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo.

“We have to give concrete answers,” Vizcarra told the conference. “The dimension of the problem forces us to make drastic decisions.”

New Instruments

In a message to the summit, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay called on leaders to “reinforce existing instruments” designed to protect the Amazon.

“These instruments should be strengthened, more states encouraged to ratify them, increase protected areas, strengthen surveillance and action capabilities.”

Brazil contains 60 percent of the rainforest within its borders, with the rest spread over areas of Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela as well as the French overseas department of French Guyana.

Venezuela, despite having a large swath of the Amazon, was not invited, as host, Colombia does not recognize the presidency of Nicolas Maduro.

Deforestation, Climate Change – Dead End For Wildlife

Oyo Govt Warns Residents Against Illegal Tree Felling
File photo


Climate change combined with galloping tropical deforestation is cutting off wildlife from life-saving cooler climes, heightening the risk of extinction, researchers said Monday.

Less than two-fifths of forests across Latin America, Asia and Africa currently allow for animals and plants to avoid potentially intolerable increases in temperature, they reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“The loss of tropical forests between 2000 and 2012 led to an area larger than India losing the capacity to protect species from the effects of climate change,” lead author Rebecca Senior, a professor at the University of Sheffield, told AFP.

“Not only does forest loss remove habitat directly, it also makes it harder for species to move.”

The lack of escape routes to cooler habitats means that warming “will likely result in national and global extinction of vulnerable species,” she added.

At current rates of climate change, animals and plants moving to the least heat-ravaged spots accessible today would, on average, be exposed by 2070 to an environment 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.8 F) hotter than during the second half of the 20th century, the study found.

Even under a best-case scenario in which humanity caps global warming at 2 C — an increasingly unlikely prospect — species in tropical regions would still see a jump of 0.8 C by that date.

Extreme Fragmentation

The 2015 Paris climate treaty enjoins nations to hold warming to “well below” 2 C.

Last year, the UN climate science panel concluded that even this threshold would not prevent severe impacts, such as the loss of shallow-water coral reefs, which anchor a quarter of marine life.

A single degree of warming since the industrial revolution has already boosted the frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts and tropical storms.

Animal and plant species have always moved up or down mountains, towards or away from the poles, or into cooler or warmer waters when faced with shifts in climate.

But rarely has climate change been so rapid, and never has it been combined with extreme habitat fragmentation.

“Tropical species are particularly sensitive to temperature change,” Senior said. “Most are found nowhere else on Earth, and make up a huge proportion of global biodiversity.”

Scores of studies have shown how rising temperatures have forced fauna and flora to adapt their behaviour in ways that curtain their ability to collect food, reproduce or both.

Some 550 species – more than half already threatened with extinction — are listed as vulnerable to droughts and temperature extremes on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.

Nail In The Coffin

They include mammals such at red-handed howler monkeys, jaguars and giant otters.

Amphibians – already besieged globally by mysterious pathogens – are especially vulnerable.

“They are highly specialised to particular habitats, can’t move very far, and are very sensitive to overheating and drying out,” Senior pointed out.

“This is another nail in their coffin.”

Higher temperatures force some tropical hummingbirds to seek shade rather than forage, testing their capacity to adapt.

Other research has documented species decline and loss due to forest loss and fragmentation, which has created islands of primary forest hemmed in by palm oil plantations, biofuel crops, cattle ranches and the soyabean crops used to feed livestock.

An area of tropical forest five times the size of England — some 600,000 square kilometres (230,000 square miles) — has been destroyed since 2014, according to Global Forest Watch, a research unit at the University of Maryland.

The new study, however, is the first to investigate the interaction between tropical habitat loss and climate change on a global scale over more than a decade.

Osun Govt Decries High Rate Of Deforestation

Felling of Trees, Desertification,The Osun State Government has condemned the high rate of deforestation by illegal farmers and miners in its forest reserves.

The state government had issued a 21-day ultimatum to encroachers on government forest reserves across the state to vacate the lands, stating that their activities were having negative effects on the health and economic conditions of the people of the state.

The Chairman of the committee in charge of implementation of the government’s White Paper on Shasha Forest Reserve in Ile-Ife, Professor Labo Popoola told Channels Television that such illegal activities were destroying the ecosystem.

“Without forests, we are all gone. Forest is about life and it makes living possible. No settlement can take place if those who want to settle there do not have forest.

“The problem of deforestation is a global phenomenon and that is why reclamation is going on in many parts of the world. We are in trouble in Nigeria because about 10% of our land is only covered by forest when we need about 25%,” he said.

Professor Popoola, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Osun State University, Osogbo asked the people to desist from encroaching on government forest reserves or face the full wrath of the law.

He stated that government was ready to reclaim Shasha Forest Reserve and other reserves in the state and asked illegal farmers and timber contractors to vacate the lands immediately.

The Vice Chancellor Popoola said the dwindling fortune of the state, especially in the forestry sector was caused by encroachment on gazetted forest reserves in the state.

He noted that the state government would embark on projects that would improve the sector, despite the insufficient financial resources at its disposal.

FG, Ogun Govt. Flag Off 50 Hectares Tree Planting Project

FG, Ogun Govt. Flag Off 50 Hecters Tree Planting ProjectThe Nigerian government and the Ogun state government have flagged off 50 hectares of tree planting programme to effectively address deforestation and the abuse of forest reserves in the state as a result illegal tree felling and land clearing for agricultural purposes.

At a ceremony held at Olokemeji Forest Reserve in the state, the Minister of Environment, represented by a director in the ministry, Mr Philip Bankole, said that the federal government was ready to take drastic measures and make policies to control the wanton destruction of forest reserves across the country.

He enlisted the support and understanding of state governments, community leaders, and members of the Processed Wood Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria to be at the vanguard of protecting the forests from further degradation.

“We must fashion out appropriate strategies and policies for sustainable forest management in our country with the entire citizenry adapting to responsible behaviour.

“It is not only the loggers that destroy our forests, even the hunter that puts fire into the forest.

“So, the federal government will continue to provide the necessary policy guidelines, facilitate dialogue with relevant stakeholders and provide the needed enabling environment for stakeholders to participate in afforestation and sustainable forest management in our country,” he said.

The Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, Kolawole Lawal, said: “Today we are witnessing the flag-off of 50 hectares of tree planting in our state.

“This development is highly instructive as the administration is taking steps to mitigate the effects of climate change and all hands must be on deck to support this initiative.”

The National Chairman of the Processed Wood Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria said that despite the rich varieties of Nigeria’s forest and wildlife, this source of national pride is being threatened by deforestation.

“Massive reforestation is the answer, the earlier we find alternative to fuel wood, the better. Obviously, government alone cannot do it, just like the education trust fund, government should create a trust fund to be funded with tax and levies on all forest products,” he said.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Nigeria is losing about 350,000 to 400,000 annually representing 55.7% of its forest reserves to wanton, illegal and uncontrolled tree felling.

The effects remain visible as this has brought untoward stress on the environment which has manifested in massive gully erosion and imbalance in the ecosystem.

Kogi Govt. To Set Up Committe Against Illegal Felling Of Trees

Kogi, Felling of treesThe Kogi state government has resolved to set up a committee to check arbitrary and illegal felling of trees in all the existing forest reserves across the state.

The State Commissioner of Environment and Natural Resources, Rosemary Osikoya, disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the weekly State Executive Council meeting in Lokoja.

The commissioner also told newsmen that the state government has placed a fine of 1.5 million per truck on anybody caught in the act of deforestation of the reserves.

She condemned the destruction of 36 designated forest reserves across the state, assuring that government will not relent in its efforts to check the ugly trend.

”the state executive council today approves for the setting up of a committee to review kogi state specific laws, deterrent to illegal tree felling activities with severe penalties”.

Osikoya informed journalists that the council approved the recruitment of 100 forest reserves in the three senatorial districts of the state.

The Director-General Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwon, who also spoke to journalists, re-iterated the council’s resolve to ensure that transaction of government business in the state, followed due process in order to boost transparency and accountability in the system.

He intimated newsmen of the council’s resolution to retrieve all government vehicles that were illegally carted away by the immediate past political appointees.

Mr Fanwon expressed the council’s appreciation over the recent visit of the governor, Yahaya Bello, to some companies in Germany to seek their collaboration towards further development of the state.

FG To Ban Felling Of Trees To Avert Desertification

Felling of Trees, Desertification, The Federal Government is working towards putting a ban on felling of trees as a means of addressing the challenge of desertification in Nigeria.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, announced the plan on Wednesday at a public forum on desertification and deforestation organised by the European Union.

Mrs Mohammed laments that about 1.5 million trees are cut daily in Nigeria, thereby creating room for desert encroachment.

On his part, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, hinted that the Senate was considering a bill to improve forestry in Nigeria.

At an earlier event to flag-off the ‘Keep Kaduna Green Project’, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed worry that Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the world in spite of campaigns against such acts.

Restore The Environment

The President was represented by the Environment Minister at the event designed to plant one million trees annually in Kaduna State.

He pointed out that over 576 million trees were lost annually due to deforestation, adding that the situation had led to the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of Nigeria.

Environmental Auditors, AFROSAI, Implementation

President Buhari feared that with the upsurge in the rate of deforestation, the Federal Government’s effort to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.

Paid For Growing Trees 

In another development, the Federal Ministry of Environment reiterated its commitment to forestry development with a view to checkmate the effects of climate change in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin, stressed the importance of agriculture and forestry to national economy and security.

He also expressed concern over the negative destruction of the nation’s forests which he said had led to numerous environmental challenges.

Mr Jibrin called on farmers and other stakeholders to come up with solutions on how to combat climate change and deforestation in Nigeria.

If Nigeria could enact a law that would proscribe felling of trees, the nation could be added to the list of countries getting paid for keeping their forests.

Over eight countries get the REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) funds.

REDD+ is the UN led mechanism which helps countries earn dollars by not cutting trees and saving carbon dioxide in forests.

Environmental experts estimate that if a nation upholds deforestation and also plant new trees, it can earn $4 – 12 billion

Gov. Ahmed Canvasses Effective Management Of The Environment

Kwara state governor, Ahmed
Gov Ahmed says he won’t tolerate commercial activities that adversely affect the environment.

The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed has called for effective management of the environment to protect the eco-system and save it from depletion and over-exploitation.

Governor Ahmed made the call when executive members of the Kwara State Forestry Stakeholders Congress led by its president, Abdullahi Agbobamu visited him at the Governor’s Lodge in Ilorin, the state capital.

According to him,” there is a growing concern over poor management of the environment which leads to desertification and depletion of the environment”.

The governor called on the Congress not to engage in acts that could hurt the environment with a view to saving the environment from losing its values.

The governor charged members of the congress to partner with the government in the conservation of the environment and creation of wealth.

“The danger is not in the felling of trees but in not planting more trees to guide against deforestation and desertification.

Efforts must be made by stakeholders and,  in deed,  all Nigerians to protect our environment by embracing the tree planting culture”, the governor said.

The governor promised to support the congress through the micro, small and medium enterprises platforms in order to promote their businesses.

Buhari Decries Rate Of Deforestation In Nigeria

deforestation, Tree Planting, KadunaPresident Muhammadu Buhari has expressed worry that Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the world in spite of campaigns against such acts.

The President made the remark at the flag-off ceremony of the Keep Kaduna Green Project, designed to plant one million trees annually in the state.

Represented by the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, President Buhari pointed out that over 576 million trees are lost in the country annually due to deforestation.

He said that this situation has led the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of the country.

President Buhari feared that with the growing deforestation in the country, the effort of the federal government to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.

He commended the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai for the initiative which he said would go a long way in combating illegal felling of trees and restoring the green environment in the state.

On his part, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said that the project, apart from restoring the environment, will also create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the state.

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba and his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu were among the dignitaries who planted trees to flag off the Keep Kaduna Clean Project, with a determination to replicate same in their states.

According to environmental experts, Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rate of deforestation of primary forests, where more than 50% of such forests have been lost in the past decades through unsustainable logging.

These practices contribute to the environmental challenges such as erosion, flooding, desertification among others.

An estimated 1.3 billion people, or nearly 20% of the world’s population, rely on forests and forest products for their daily activities.

Stakeholders say the plan by the Kaduna State government to plant one million trees should be a project that should be keyed into by states and local government if the country must tackle erosion, flooding and other environmental challenges.

Meanwhile, the Director General of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr Lawrence Anukam says the agency will deal with companies, organizations or individuals that degrade the environment through their operations.

This measures according to him is to mitigate all forms of environmental challenges in the country.

Sustainable Banking Principles, Addressing Environmental And Social Challenges

There seems to be more global awareness by banking institutions in recent times towards addressing the environmental and social impacts of their services.

In Nigeria, there is a set of principles on sustainable banking which is geared towards ensuring that these financial institutions are environmentally friendly.

Bank’s financial services are used too often for activities which are harmful to the environment, human rights and social equity.

However, in whatever way we look at it, banks can be powerful agents of change.

Environmentalist, Lekan Fadina, helps to highlight the economic relevance of climate change to businesses and return of investments.

Fadina lauded the Sustainable Banking Principles as adopted by Nigerian banks in the year 2012. He noted that if properly implemented, it would address the issues of environment, economy and all that could be as a result of climate change.

Special Assistant to the CBN Governor of Sustainable Banking, Dr Aisha Mahmud, explained that there are certain global forces that are making businesses and organisations to imbibe sustainability, such as the recent financial crisis.”

She however said, “Nationally there are pressing environmental and social issues, such as poverty, youth unemployment, gender inequality, climate change, deforestation, food insecurity that made the Nigerian financial sector to come together and develop this Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles.

“Basically what it means is that, instead of focusing on profit, we now have to do a balancing act and look at environmental and social considerations as well, and this is for us to be able to achieve sustainable development.”

Earthfile presents how the financial institutions would do their business operations and activities to achieve the goals of the Sustainable Banking Principles.  It starts by highlighting the environmental and social risks involved in their operations.

Enjoy the video.

FCTA sets up committee to tackle deforestation

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Thursday established a 25-man committee to tackle the menace of deforestation in the Federal Capital City (FCC) and the six Area Councils.

The Chairperson of the Deforestation Committee and Honourable Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, disclosed that the Committee was established to find a holistic approach to controlling the hazard in the FCT.

Mrs Akinjide, who inaugurated the Committee, explained that the FCT was faced with various environmental problems such as excessive heat, erosion, bush burning, flood, and loss of soil fertility which has contributed to food insecurity.

“The effects of deforestation in FCT today cannot be over-emphasized since it is witnessed by all and sundry. It is evident in the increased FCT daily temperature in recent times. Few years ago, the highest daily temperature was as low as 27oc but now is between 34oc – 37oc in some months of the year.

“My attention has also been drawn to the increasing rate of deforestation in FCT which is seen in heaps of fire-wood, bags of charcoal along our major roads, piles of timber exploitation from already over-exploited forests,” she stated.

The minister charged members of the committee to identify the immediate and remote causes of deforestation in the FCT and also proffer effective ways of enforcing the existing forest law in the territory.

She also directed the Committee to recommend possible areas of inter-departmental collaborations with a view to curbing deforestation and ameliorating its effects.

“The inauguration of the Committee will no doubt help to foster a harmonious relationship with our environment and lead to achieving a sustainable environmental development especially now that the entire World is facing the menace of climate change/global warning that are having negative effects on the environment and man,” she added.

Members of the Committee include: Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat in the FCT,  Olvadi Bema Madayi; Secretary of Area Council Service Secretariat, Yahaya Ibrahim; Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council,  Micah Jiba; Chairman of Bwari Area Council, Peter Yohanna; Chairman of Kuje Area Council, Danladi Etsu Zhin; Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Zakari Angulu Dobi; Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Yahaya Musa Muhammed, and Chairman of Kwali Area Council, Joseph Shazin.

Also on the list of members of the Deforestation Committee are: Director of Engineering Services, FCTA, Adamu Abu; Director of Urban & Regional Planning, Abubakar Suleiman; Director of Satellite Towns Development Agency, Tukur Ibrahim Bakori; Director of Parks & Recreation, FCTA, Ologun Rowland; Director of Development Control, Yahaya Yusuf, and Director of Compensation and Resettlement Department, Francis Okechukwu.

Other members of the committee are: Director of Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Isa Shuaibu; Director of Federal Department of Forestry, John Auta; Director of Agriculture in the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat of FCTA, Adamu Wakili Zinze; Deputy Director (Agric Services), Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat of FCTA, Margaret Gwamma; Director of FCT Fadama III, Danladi Salisu Ibrahim; and representatives of Minister of Environment, Green Tree Africa Initiative and Abuja Green Society.