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Driving sustainable economic growth through plant conservation

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Sugarcane plantation

The change in Nigeria’s climate and weather patterns has been linked to the drastic depletion of trees and vegetation across the country.

This has consequently led to increased flooding, loss of freshwater due to receding rivers, poorer soils, and irregular farming cycles, among myriad problems.

Plant conservation, a broad group of activities that aim to prevent plants from becoming extinct, is a critical part of environmental accountability and conservation.

It is ultimately centered on the conservation of trees, which is integrative to the process.

The value placed on this initiative accounts for the attention it has received from non-governmental organisations and corporate bodies, who are consistently sustaining efforts in promoting environmental protection and sustainability through tree planting.

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), a foremost NGO dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable development with conservation projects across at least 11 states, recently began involving school pupils in its tree planting campaign.

The purpose is to raise a new generation of future leaders who will understand the importance of conservation and preservation of biodiversity. Some of NCF’s partners/sponsors include Chevron Nigeria, Nigeria Bottling Company and First Bank of Nigeria.

Guinness Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries and Skin Beauty Cosmetics Ltd., have at different times, sponsored the tree planting campaign of Lagos State.

British American Tobacco Nigeria, apart from ensuring that the outgrowers do not exploit child labour, also train their farmers to adopt sustainable farming techniques that preserve environmental biodiversity.

Trees play a pivotal role in the preservation of the biodiversity of any environment or location.

Their roots go deep into the soil, loosen it up for more absorption of rainwater and less run off.

The increased absorption raises the water table level and consequently makes water available to plants for much longer while the top soil also retains its fertility as erosion is forestalled.

It also support the growth of underbrush or bushes, which provide further cover for the top soil by providing protection from loss of water through evaporation. The presence of vegetation also improves water retention as their presence reduces the drying effects of winds that would otherwise occur on bare unprotected land.

Forests and vegetation are the natural habitats of most animal species. The depletion of vegetation has pushed many species into extinction while scores remain on the endangered list.

This situation continues to alter the ecosystems drastically, reducing the efficacy of some natural cycles/checks and even posing health threats to humans.

Vultures for instance, which are natures’ sanitation officers (because they feed on dead animals which helps to prevent any diseases that would have resulted from decomposing carcasses), have had their populations reduced to the status of endangered species, as the country continue to deplete their habitats.

Vultures require huge and tall trees for nesting of their young, trees that are currently being over harvested for their timber.


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