Environmentalist attributes increasing erosion, desertification to constant deforestation

Ms Gloria Bulus, an environmentalist, has blamed the increasing rate of erosion and desertification in the country to constant deforestation.

Bulus, the founder of Brigde-that-gap Initiative, an environmental non-governmental organisation, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

The expert said that the continued felling of trees for commercial activities (without replanting) had increased the damage caused by erosion and desertification in the country.

“Deforestation, which is the logging or burning of forests, is a way in which humans have caused increased incidences of erosion and desertification in Nigeria.

“Deforestation is one of the leading human causes of desertification. Forests are being cut down at a much larger scale than ever before.

“These trees are felled down to be used as fuel, in order to create more space for agriculture to sustain the growing human population,’’ she said.

Bulus said that although there were natural desertification and erosion causes, human activities accounted for the most common cause.

She further called for the enforcement of government afforestation plans and projects to slow down desertification rate in the country.

According to her, the government needs to take a stance in strengthening forest laws in order to mitigate the challenges of erosion and desertification.

“To the best of my knowledge, there have been afforestation programmes/projects (tree planting) going around but I cannot tell how effective they are.

“There is also a rich forest law that protects forest resources that the government has put in place as efforts to protect our forest and mitigate desertification.

“In 2020, there were plans by the Federal Government to plant 30 million tree seedlings to accelerate afforestation in the country, but I cannot tell if that was achieved and this year, the target has increased.

She called for the strengthening and implementation of environmental laws that address forest protection and management and erosion.

“There are also interventions to address erosion in the country from what is contained in the Federal Ministry of Environment’s budget but I cannot tell the level of implementation for now,” Bulus said. (NAN)