NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Africa’s forestry cover is fast increasing
courtesy of farmer’s regeneration efforts, a forestry expert
revealed on Thursday.
Executive Secretary of African Forestry Forum (AFF) noted that
despite having less natural forest cover and climate change
effects, farmers have inculcated the idea of planting trees in
their farms, hence replenishing the overall tree cover in the
“The adoption of
agro-forestry has become a great achievement in increasing tree
cover away from demarcated forest areas in Africa,” Kowero told
Xinhua in Nairobi.
agroforestry has picked up in East African countries where
forests are found in highly populated areas where people grow
trees alongside crops.
Kowero noted that in
1990-2012, Niger farmers planted 5 million hectares trees on
their farms hence regenerating the degraded land.
“Farmers in the
continent have since realized the potential of fruit trees that
are currently being grown in large numbers besides other fast
maturing trees that are grown for commercial purposes,” he
admitted that tree cover is diminishing in the government owned
public forests due to poor management and lack of private sector
involvement yet forest and tree resources have an immense
potential to contribute to social and economic development of
“Africa needs to
privatize its forestry sector to help replenish the fluctuating
forest cover that is mainly due to deforestation and
degradation,” he added.
He revealed that
following the economic reforms in late 1980s that moved forest
activities to the hands of private investors, the pace of
regeneration reduced in government owned forests.
Kowero said the rate
of afforestation went down as some countries failed to get
potential private investors, a move that led to low wood
production as demand outstripped production.
Kowero said that due
to lack of private investors, most governments are now devolving
forest management to local communities but due to lack of skills
and finance, there is slow take-off in the sector.
The official called
on governments to invest in afforestation program to help
improve water catchment areas and also absorb carbon in the
fight against rising climate change.
“There is need to
embark on massive afforestation program to mitigate against
climate change through reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG)
emissions and also create employment for the unemployed youths,”
He suggested that
farmers grow useful trees that grow faster after harvesting to
sustain tree cover.
the current afforestation trend to civil society for mobilizing
communities in the continent into taking action in the
protection of forests.
He revealed that the
African Union Commission has embarked in developing a
sustainable forestry management program for the continent.
He said the
Sustainable Forestry Management Framework (SFMF) will help guide
all African countries in the planning of their forest activities
with the aim of accruing benefits from the sector.