Nigeria’s government has pledged to restore 4 million hectares of degraded land in the country, reports Mongabay
Nigeria’s government has pledged to restore 4 million hectares of degraded land in the country, reports Mongabay.
The West African Commonwealth nation is the 26th country in Africa to commit to restoring a total of 84 million hectares of degraded land, as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration initiative (AFR100).
The AFR100 effort aims to restore 100 million hectares by 2030 and support targets agreed by the Bonn Challenge, an initiative to restore 360 million hectares by 2030.
Almost US$1.5 billion has been donated to AFR100, with restoration increasingly being recognised as a good investment on top of its environmental and climate benefits.
Furthermore, as a member of the Great Green Wall initiative, the country aims to plant a barrier of trees across the continent in order to combat the southward advance of the Sahara Desert, which is being driven by climate change.
It has also committed to neutralise land degradation by 2030, to which its 4 million hectare restoration will contribute.
Nigeria is one of 189 countries that agreed to the Nationally Determined Contributions of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, which pledged commitment to climate action plans, 83% of which focused on climate mitigation efforts in land use and forestry.
Research published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) has found that conservation, restoration and improved land management of forests, wet/grasslands and agricultural lands have the potential to make significant contributions to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below two degrees this century.
It showed that this restoration would be the most effective of the 20 natural climate strategies examined in the study.
Restoration must be carefully balanced with the necessity of food production to meet growing demand, however.
In Nigeria, nearly a third of livelihoods are dependent on the agricultural industry and over 75% of land is put to agricultural use.
With the largest national economy in Africa, Nigeria’s rapid urban development and growth in population has led to widespread deforestation.
Desertification in its Sahel region is threatening approximately 40 million rural people.
Mamadou Diakhite, Sustainable Land and Water Management Team Leader at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which hosts the AFR100 Secretariat, said: “We are honoured to have Nigeria as part of the AFR100 initiative and applaud the Government of Nigeria for this exciting commitment.”
Bananda Aliyu, Director of the Drought and Desertification Amelioration Department at Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment, said: “Nigeria is happy to be associated with the AFR100 initiative and Bonn Challenge.
“We are committed to restoring degraded forests to improve citizens’ livelihoods through food security, poverty alleviation, a sustainable environment and the achievement of the [UN] Sustainable Development Goals.
“Our government understands the environmental benefits of restoring degraded forest landscapes and hopes to meet its Nationally Determined Contributions, Land Degradation Neutrality targets and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of Nigeria.”
Read More: Dr John Innes, Dean of Forestry and FRBC Chair of Forest Management at the University of British Columbia, Canada, salutes the progress of The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy – a project that ties together ordinary people, governments and forests around the globe – and urges all Commonwealth members to join in