THE need to conserve our forest through scientific research to improve the quality of forest trees in Nigeria becomes more important than ever. Forests are a source of wealth and beauty which we should collectively conserve.
FOR instance, there Is the need for governments at all levels to encourage the planting of neem frees. The neem tree, particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria, is one of the most economic trees you can find anywhere.
RESEARCH has revealed that apart from using It to reduce the effects of desertification, it has been discovered in the last ten years that there are so many things that can come out of the neem tree.
FIRST, there is the neem oil. Sold all over the world and used by most cosmetic industries, the neem oil is a by product of the neem free. The neem seed when crushed, produces one of the best cosmetic oils anywhere in the world.
THERE are also other byproducts which come out of making the oil and many of them are being used at the moment for making soap, detergents and paints. it has been discovered lately that a good part of local paints used all over the North for painting mud houses, are also byproducts of the neem tree.
BASED on the above, deliberate efforts need to be made, more than ever before, to conserve our forests, for the economic, social and agricultural value.
FORESTS are an important component of the national environment which play a significant role in water and soil conservation. The importance of forest lies In its ability to hold rain water, which is gradually released to the soil below and streams which flow through them.
BESIDES, forests act as protective cover for the soil against the action of rain and wind. It also reduces the speed of wind and devastating effect of erosion. Forests any where in the world provide home for wild life.
INDEED, forests, especially the luxuriant rain forest in Nigeria is being depleted at an alarming rate. Apart from serving as a source of timber, forests are daily destroyed for farming activities. Added to the above is the destruction of this natural environment for the siting of industries, residential buildings and road construction.
WHEN the forests are destroyed the soil is left bare and consequently exposed to erosion and in some cases, flooding. Therefore, many plant species are lost and the natural home of wild life destroyed. The above factors conspire to reduce the number of wild life available.
THIS accounts for why some hitherto thick forested regions of Nigeria are now left as a barren semi desert today.
HOWEVER, there is the urgent need to strengthen the selective felling of frees based on existing laws. Young trees should be preserved while tree planting should be encouraged to replace those already consumed or dead.
WHAT we have seen over the years were mere rhetorics rather than pragmatic tree planting policies by government at au levels. The efforts towards forest conservation will be far from success unless the issue of bush burning is addressed. Bush burning has led to the destruction of forests, wild life and loss of soil fertility. Sometimes, this damage and soil degradation become irreversible.
GOVERNMENT should therefore introduce protective legislative measures to prevent the incidence of bush burning.
HOME to several plants and wild life, conserved forests will serve as tourist centres as it is obtainable in a country such as Kenya.
TOURISM will help to diversity the economy of Nigeria, provide employment and provide huge revenue required for national – development
FINALLY, the conservation of our forests should not be restricted to the confines of government alone. Traditional rulers, Non Governmental Organisations (N.G.Os.), private firms and the public should adopt the culture of preserving the work and gift of nature bearing In mind that not every country of the world has this same blessing. Therefore the duty lies on all of us to protect and preserve our forests for future generations.