RAMPANT LOGGING BLAMED FOR DEFORESTATION
By: Wani Alex David
Massive logging for timber and charcoal are the main causes of deforestation across the country, environmentalists have said.
Professor Pius Yanda a consultant in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry said firewood collection, and charcoal burning are the main drivers of deforestation and forestry degradation in the country.
Prof. Yanda said it would be difficult for the government to stop people from timber harvesting and logging because there is ready market.
“People carry out this timber harvesting and logging because there is market that motivates them so you cannot stop it just like that, it’s very difficult,” Yanda said.
He made the remarks on Monday during a one-day validation workshop organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
The event sought to identify the major drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
he workshop was organized with support from African Development Bank.
Speaking to the press, Prof. Yanda cited poverty as one of the issues that drive people to cut tress for charcoal to enable them earn a living.
He said the big urban population has called for more demand in charcoal and fire wood collection.
Yanda attributed some of the drivers to poor coordination by forest related management institutions, lack of visible forest boundaries, lack of benefit sharing mechanism, and weak institutions mandated to manage forest resources.
Jaden Tongun Emilio, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said commercial agriculture, timber harvesting and logging are the main drivers.
“Commercial agriculture removes all the trees to open a large area of land for cultivation and that is deforestation while for timber and logging is selective that means you are degrading the forest,” Emilio said.
Emilio said there were a number of policies, strategies and plans that highlight forest cover as one of their strategies aimed at increasing the number of tress and forest cover.
He said the Ministry of Environment and Forestry was doing extension work to encourage farmers to agro-forest where they could plant crops and tress to increase the forest cover.
However, he said inadequate number of people deployed on the ground to monitor forest and lack of transport to facilitate workers to forest areas was another problem.
Emilio urged for investment in forestry, noting that investors wanted to invest in something that only takes months or few years to harvest.