Cross River is blessed with a large expanse of land and variable vegetation but this important blessing of nature over the years has not been sustainable and properly managed.
Over the years, many rural dwellers have treated our forest as if it is inexhaustible. Fetching our timber for firewood and deforestating our forest with out replacing them with new trees.
Today the story is different, our trees are almost gone and the rural dwellers have now recognized that the forest is almost finished but the felling of trees has not stopped because poverty has pushed our People into exploiting the remaining trees we should have protected for the future.
With the felling down of trees, there has been a lot of environmental degradation and a high rise in global warming as a result of the depletion of our forest.
The forest in Cross River State has suffered a lot with the large scale of urban housing development going on in our urban centers, there is now the need to exploit our forest for timbers used in roofing.
It is pertinent to know that due to the high demand in timber for roofing and other furniture work, our department of forestry has not been able to control the the large scale of cutting down of trees in the State.
One thing that is very worrisome is the fact that as our forest are exploited so is our biodiversity. Plant and animal genetic resources are also lost with this important genetic resources, vital for breeding the future. Cultivating the wild relatives of cultivated crops is needed.
Our biodiversity is constantly threatened as a result of deforestation, desertification, habitat alteration, poor land management, poor budget allocation, poor implementation are some of the problems in diversifying our forest.
The deforestation is getting worse by the day and there is the need for forest conservation and restoration.
But my hope for rekindling the lost glory of our forest was revived when i read the media interview of the Governor, Senator Ayade Benedict , where he paid special attention on diversifying our forest and paying attention on biodiversity. The proposed green Police and the visit of the country’s head of the REED+. As an environmentalist, and an ecologist par excellence my hope has been reaffirmed again with his sweet words on revamping the forest by planting more trees to replace the already old ones and dead ones. It has given me hope for a better environment for our People. A new hope for the People of Cross River State.
In reclaiming the lost glory of our forest, we must take into cognizance that the Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, can not handle it all alone.
Biodiversity is a top priority on the international development agenda and it was given so much attention in the 70th United Nations General Assembly. World leaders spoke about how our ecosystem can be preserved .
Let me quickly remind us that the SDG aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystem, sustainably manage forest, combat desertification and halt biodiversity loss. Let me also remind us all that it is proven that a healthy ecosystem are the foundation of poverty reduction and sustainable development.
We can not live a healthy life without a healthy ecosystem, because our health depends on a clean water, clean air to breath and many more.
All Stakeholders need to understand that biodiversity is critical to the maintenance of a healthy environment. We must understand that biodiversity not only provides direct benefits such as food , medicine and energy, it also affords us a ” life support system”.
Biodiversity will do Cross River State a lot of good in protecting watersheds and preventing erosion . Controlling deforestation will help reduce the impact of climate change in Cross River State and buffer against excessive variation in weather and climate.
Let’s protect our Forest in order to live a healthy life.
Prince Thomas Abi jr.
Is a Public Affairs Analyst/Information Technologist