Food production increases annually as forest area diminishes

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    The importance of the forest without a doubt is far-reaching as it offers diverse ecosystem services and livelihoods for many communities in Africa. However, human activities have increased the rate at which Africa’s original forests are declining in the past years contributing to climate change.

    According to Professor Francis Bisong, the forestry and agricultural sectors are plagued with negative correlation which weighs down on the limited area of available forests left.

    He made this known during a presentation on ‘Strengthening adaptation policies and Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Use (AFOLU) based climate change mitigation intervention’ at the 2016 annual stakeholders knowledge sharing workshop on Africa forests organized by the Africa Forestry Forum in Lome, Togo.

    The workshop boasted of experts and media personnels from across Africa gathered to share information, knowledge and experiences on how to improve Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).

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    Professor Bisong noted that sustainable land intensification should be encouraged to curtail expansion of agricultural land and other land uses at the expense of forest as carbon stocks.

    Bisong’s study was based on research carried out on Anglophone countries in Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    With regards to strengthening adaptation and mitigation processes, Professor Bisong pointed out that some regional and national institutions with long standing involvement in environment issues had the capacity to do so if properly engaged.

    Presenting the same research carried out in Francophone countries was Dr. Martin Nganje who pointed out that a major obstacle to the adoption of key forest-related mitigation processes was lack of upfront funding.

    Some of Professor Bisong’s key messages were that adaptation and mitigation intervention are largely planned (driven by public institutions), or a blend of planned with autonomous (driven by communities).

    Also, he noted that agroforestry, alternative livelihood from forest based enterprises, high yielding cultivars and breeds and drought resistant species among others are most successful adaptation practices.

    Dr. Nganje on the other hand focused on how to make the forests bankable. He said there was a need to eencourage involvement and investment by the private forest sector (concessionaires) in forest mitigation schemes through collaboration agreements with communities in which communities will benefit financially.

    The workshop continues today with more presentation by experts in the forestry field.

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