As the world marks Desertification Day, Mr Pima Hoffman, an expert, has called on the African Union (AU) to declare a state of emergency on forestry among the 55 member states to avert desertification.
Hoffman, the Assistant Director, African Climate Reporters, an NGO, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, June 17, 2019 in Kaduna, Kaduna State.
The 2019 UN World Day to Combat Desertification has the theme: “Let’s Grow the Future together”.
According to Hoffman, increased irrational human activities, lack of commitment by member states toward combating desertification and soil erosion has a negative impact, and remains a serious threat to the existence of parks and game reserves across the region.
He said that desertification had triggered displacements of millions of people in Africa and still causing harmful and devastating effect, especially to African forestry due to tree felling and the demand of firewood, mining, overgrazing, population growth and rapid economic development.
According to him, hunting and over exploitation of natural resources through various human activities like excessive fishing, cutting down of trees, mining activities has caused serious reduction and damages in the number of various plants and animals species in the forest.
“Millions of animals were forced to migrate while some have gone extinct due to continuous hunting activities, bush burning, wood cutters, timber commercial sellers.
“These unwholesome activities have negative effect on the environment.
“Many African forest today face serious extinction problems; this has brought about reduction of visiting tourists and archaeologists and other forestry experts from international countries to the region and the increase insecurity.’’
Hoffman said that the diverse existence of animals and plants species in different habitats had been widely affected by over-hunting, over-grazing, and over exploitation of natural resources in the region.
According to him, these human activities do not give room for the replenishment, growth or new development of already exploited or harvested.
He said that activities of woodcutters in African forestry increase the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which led to further global warming and other problems associated with environmental degradation.
“Such irrational human activities need to stop if we wish to survive in this planet because without forestry, no one will survive on earth.”
Hoffman suggested that AU needed to authorise all member states to be more committed to tree planting to combat increasing desertification turning African forest to Sahara Desert and exposing natural vegetation to soil surface.
“Such irrational human activities need to stop if we wish to survive in this planet because without forestry, no one will live in this earth.”
He appealed to AU to be more committed in supporting the Great Green World Project (GGWP) to halt the speed of Sahara Desert encroaching the forestry.
“The AU needs to immensely support all project related to renewable energy organisation, local and international NGOs and CSOs to enable countries import new renewable technology at cheaper prices.
He urged all forest rangers across the region to be more committed in protecting wildlife and halt activities of commercial wood sellers and illegal miners.
The 2019 World Day to Combat Desertification is the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification across the world.