By Our Taraba correspondent
The massive presence of herders have no doubt made the protection of even gazetted forests a dangerous business in Taraba state as several Rangers were said to have lost their lives in trying to enforce park protection.
An environmental journalist, Lawal Sani Kona who made this known at a two day workshop on Cross River and Taraba state knowledge exchange which took place at the Heritage and Suit hotel in Ikom, Cross River state, observed that human activities especially those of the pastorals have become threats to forests in Taraba.
Sad that With “27 gazetted forest reserves,4 game reserves and a national Park, the protected areas of Forest that really exist today are Gashaka Gumti national Park. Former Ngelyaki game sanctuary, to an extent Buru, and Ambo” the most immediate threat to these forest as stated by him ” come from several sources, all of which are human activity related.”
Citing the demand for land due to the growth in Human population as major factor crippling forests protection in the state, the presence of the herders according to him ” makes the protection of even gazetted forests a dangerous business. Several Rangers have lost their lives in trying to enforce park protection.”
Kona who believed that Poor federal Funding, exposure to attacks has to an extent weakened protection thus opening up a new phase to the destruction of our forests was of the opinion that the experience gathered from Calaba would go a long way to assist Taraba in given the much needed attention to its forests .
According to him “Driven by the Voracious appetite for raw materials from the burgeoning Chinese Industries and abetted by a weakened system of forest protection, loggers have almost decimated one species of our Flora-Rosewood, popularly called ‘madrib’ in the entire state.
” Making the mobilisation of forest communities voice the best choice of advocacy as well as committing highly placed persons committed to conservation” as suggested by him would go a longer in discouraging ” illegal human activities in our forest.”
The exercise which organized by Development Concern with support from Heinrich Boll Foundation as observed by our correspondent brought together media practitioners, Civil Society Organizations as well as community heads from both states to cross fertilize ideals on the best way herald smiles on the faces of our forests.
In his presentation the Chief Executive Officer of Development Concern, Mr. Martins Egot who took participants how who the media, CSOs and community leaders worked jointly round the clock to give forests facelift in the state, tasked media practitioners and all stakeholders in Taraba state to stand tall and speak with one voice on the danger of deforestation.
Citing the multiple benefits often derived from forests conservation among which includes “Social benefits, such as improved livelihoods, Preserves culture, Promote biodiversity conservation, Secure the provision of ecosystem services including water regulation, timber production, Erosion control, Supply of non-timber forest products,
Climate change mitigation, among others, journalists as suggested by him ” must consider incentives for behavior change communication “