Plots and plantations
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CTA. 2002. Plots and plantations. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57277
A forest superintendent from Nigeria explains how policy needs to change in order to reduce the amount of natural forest that is lost to cash crop plantations and agriculture.
Plots and plantations Cue: In Nigeria, government forest officers are responsible for most forest management. Local people are, however, given access to forests and forest products, and are also issued plots of land within forests reserves for cultivation of crops. Revenues are paid to the state forest departments for these activities. It is also common for state authorities to make forest land available to commercial companies for production of cash crops, such as palm oil and rubber. However, some of these policies have been criticised for causing the destruction of the natural forests. To find out how forest management could be improved, Tunde Fatunde spoke to Ebohon Clifford Afehodyon, assistant forest superintendent at the Nigerian Forestry Institute in Ibadan, who is responsible for co-ordinating forest guards and officers in the southern part of the country. He began by asking about the current level of involvement for local communities in forest management. IN: ?There is no community managed ? OUT: ? conservation of the ecosystem.? DUR?N 3?13? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Ebohon Clifford Afehodyon, with some suggestions for how forests could be better conserved in Nigeria. Transcript Afehodyon There is no community managed forest reserve in the southern part of Nigeria. However, government provides forest officers for managing such forests. They work in collaboration with local communities, and the results in most cases are usually not too bad. Forest guards ensure that economic trees are not illegally taken away. The forest officers on the other hand, see to the day-to-day running of the forest, including collection of revenues. Fatunde How would you from experience describe the attitude of local communities towards government supervision of forest reserves? Afehodyon Local communities are well disposed towards government supervision, because of what they have at stake. The forest reserves are the source of their livelihood. It provides jobs for surrounding communities; it provides food, fuelwood, medicines, craft materials, and building materials. Fatunde From your own experience, what kind of complaints are lodged by local communities on how these forest resources are being managed? Afehodyon The communities complain about some aspects of the usage of the forests, especially the establishment of rubber and oil palm tree plantations, within the forest enclave. These cash crops prevent the local communities from obtaining other benefits from the forest, such as bushmeat, medicinal herbs, and firewood. Another source of complaint is the malaise of illegal tree fellers, because they perceive these activities as a threat to their livelihood. Fatunde Faced with the growing destruction of forest reserves in the south western part of Nigeria, what kind of policies should be put in place by the government in order to conserve the ecosystem in these forest reserves? Afehodyon First and foremost, the government should ensure that the present policy of giving out forest reserves to companies to establish cash crops should be discouraged, because they give rise to deforestation. Secondly, the present policy of allocating between 1.2 and 2.0 hectares of land per household, for farming purposes, should be reduced by about 50%, so as to check deforestation within forest reserves. And thirdly, the efforts of the Nigerian Conservation Fund (NCF), should be encouraged and complemented by various state governments, and other NGOs that are concerned with conservation of the ecosystem. End of track.