Combating climate change with tree planting
There is no doubt that humanity is today facing an existential threat due to Climate Change and its impact on humanity. Across the globe and in Nigeria, there are reports of unusual wildfire, floods, droughts, famines, desertification, climate refugees and climate related diseases. As people disrupt the delicate ecological balance of the planet to build cities and roads, the potential for catastrophe rises. Ongoing environmental destruction puts people in close contact with wildlife, increasing the risk of the spread of zoonotic diseases from species to species including humans. Climate Change and the many consequences of environmental degradation are today’s realities and affect all of us in one way or the other.
Trees have the capacity to store large amounts of carbon thereby making them one of the cheapest solutions to mitigating Climate Change. Scientists say that if deforestation is halted and forests are restored, we will have the potential to mitigate the effects of climate change.
In light of this, the Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) collaborated with the Lekki Urban Forest Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI) as part of the Nigerian Governments Green Recovery Nigeria program, 2020. This partnership involved the facilitation of planting native tree species at the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta in Ogun State, Nigeria. There were seedlings of Tenera oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), Ekki trees (Lophira alata), and Gmelina (Gmelina arborea). These were conveyed from LUFASI’s nursery bank to the planting sites inside the university’s campus. Immediately after the site preparation and all other arrangements, the seedlings were planted, and are today doing well.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Kolawale Salako, who received the seedlings on behalf of the University, thanked LUFASI and other organizations responsible for the noble gesture and choosing FUNAAB as a suitable place to plant the seedlings.
According to him, the gesture is apt, particularly now when the world is advocating for the conservation and restoration of forests to mitigate the challenges of Climate Change. He added that the endowment would combat the negative effects of deforestation, forest degradation, and create multiple benefits for the ecosystems while also serving as a source of revenue for the University in the long run. He was particularly full of praises for the Chairman of LUFASI – Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi for his concern for the university and passion for creation care over the years, while encouraging members of the University community to maintain and maximise the endowment.
Mr. Joseph Olobashola – Director, Directorate of University Farms (DUFARMS), a department of the university directly responsible for the project while corroborating the Vice Chancellor, was full of appreciation for Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi and LUFASI for choosing FUNAAB as one of the institutions to support with the tree species. According to him, there is now international and national outcry about the present state of the environment. He added that Mr Majekodunmi has been alarmed over the years with the fact that some useful tree species are already going into extinction due to indiscriminate felling. Hence, his support for afforestation and restoration of endangered species. He described the importance and usefulness of the various species of the trees given as a huge addition to the university.
Some of the final year students actively involved in the project were equally elated at the gesture. Some of them, which included Olawole Olajumoke, Olukoya Folashade, Victor Oyeniran, Okafor Magnus Chukwuemeka, Omidiji Azeez Omobalaji and others in their various comments said they have been inspired by Mr. Majekodunmi’s selfless contribution to a sustainable environment and invariably humanity. They promised to support and ensure that the seedlings survive, including the success of the project at large. They requested for more support as the university still has more than 30 hectares left to cover with different species of trees.
LUFASI is an NGO established in 2013 and dedicated to the preservation of natural habitats in urban areas for instilling best-practices for nature in the hearts of people living in the city areas in Nigeria. LUFASI envisions an urban area where people connect and interact with nature and has a mission to serve as an urban hub for learning, recreation and awareness of the natural environment in Nigeria.
The serene LUFASI Nature Park sits on 20 hectares of land along the Lekki-Epe expressway. It is home to globally significant species like the Ekki “Iron Wood” and the Hooded Vulture. In an urban forest like LUFASI, the species are vital to the health and stability of the natural environment as they contribute to the provision of ecosystem services.
As our combined human activities drive environmental degradation and Climate Change, thereby threatening the value and dependence of business activities, cross collaboration efforts on conservation activities such as this one among NCF, LUFASI and FUNAAB must be encouraged to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship.
“Climate Change is a terrible problem, and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority.” – Bill Gates
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