The loss of forest cover in Africa, compounded by climate shocks, poor land use practices and urbanization, could slow the continent’s transition to a green and resilient future, scientists have said.
Speaking at a virtual forum from Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to coincide with the ongoing 15th World Forestry Congress in Seoul, South Korea, the scientists called for stronger protection of Africa’s rainforests to boost the response climate, Xinhua news agency reported.
Godwin Kowero, executive secretary of the Nairobi-based African Forest Forum, noted that deforestation linked to governance failures, poor agricultural practices and lethargic law enforcement is a threat to the continent’s green agenda.
“Sustainably managing our forests will determine the success of green development on the continent,” he said. “We therefore need to find alternatives to charcoal and firewood in order to stem the loss of forests.”
He said the 15th World Forestry Congress, to be held in the South Korean capital from May 2-6, will serve as a rallying call for African policymakers and scientists to put the resource at the center of the continent’s quest for resilience. local climate. .
Djibri Dayamba, senior program officer at the African Forest Forum, said the continent’s forest cover, estimated at 636,639 million hectares, or 16% of the global total, should be harvested sustainably to advance the sustainability agenda. .
The health of Africa’s rainforests and savannah grasslands will be crucial for food and water security, improved health and economic outcomes for local communities, he said.
Dayamba called on African countries to promote food systems in harmony with nature and invest in clean energy and ecotourism to enhance the conservation of forest landscapes.
Ben Chikamai, executive secretary of the Network for Gums and Resins in Africa, said providing alternative livelihoods to nomads, subsistence farmers and hunter-gatherers is key to reversing the depletion of Africa’s rainforests that act as carbon sink as well as a source of food, fiber and herbal medicine.
Engaging local communities to protect native forests would build their resilience to climate emergencies that have intensified on the continent, he said.
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