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Monday, December 24, 2012

The way back to the forest

Data from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has shown that Asia-Pacific region, especially China, takes the leading position in the global forest products industry.
The forest industry also grew by 1 to 4 per cent in 2011 as against 2010 which signifies that countries globally are coming out of the recession slowly.
Whereas the new data shows that production of wood-based panels and paper in 2011 was above the pre-crisis levels of 2007 and appears to be growing relatively strong in some regions.
Nigeria records highest deforestation rate
Investigations by NaijaAgroNet revealed that Nigeria is one of the countries on the continent that has the highest rate of deforestation, recording about 2.6 per cent annually. And as at 2004, Nigeria has 693,000 hectares of forest plantations.
Within the time under review for Nigeria had as at 2004, contributed about 1.3 - 3 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and account for a larger part of domestic energy, food and medicinal supply, which were not fully represented in the formal national statistics.
The increase in deforestation in the country has over the years worsen by livestock grazing, soil erosion, drought, desertification and growing demand for cropland, thus, greatly putting the state of forest of the nation’s under threat.
China leads global forestry business
However, leading the forestry industry is the Asia-Pacific region with China as the world's second largest producer of samnwood after United State of America, thereby overtaking Canada.
Notable is that in 2011 alone, China contributed 11 per cent of the world's sawnwood, 38 per cent of its panels and 26 per cent of its paper, hence it played a key role in the international forest products market, even as the Asian country also claimed the fifth largest importer of paper and paperboard after recording a huge increase in domestic production since 2007.
Also in 2011, China imported forest products worth $43 billion, about N6.79 trillion, accounting for 16 per cent of the global total imports.
The forest product statistics database by the United Nations' agency contains 1.2 million entries and cover production and trade of 52 products, 21 product groups of 245 countries and territories.
Meanwhile the Russian Federation that have the largest forest in the world has experienced decline in industrial round wood export in the last five years. The decline, NaijaAgroNet further gathered stood at about 60 per cent with an increase in sawnwood production by 8 per cent over the same period.
Calls on investors to look into forestry
Meanwhile the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in the last quarter of 2012, said that the investment guideline that was originated from The Forests Dialogue (TFD) on behalf of Growing Forest Partnerships and with the support of IIED, for forest business would give a high return on investment if followed.
In the same vein the IIED forest team head, Duncan Macqueen called on investors to venture into locally controlled forest that it offers triple investment returns and that people depending on forest for survival would have a secured income streams, making it a win-win situation for the investors as well as the forest managers and owners.
A report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the third quarter of 2012 revealed that if about 0.034 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which amount to about N6.24 trillion is being spent on forest on a yearly basis would give an estimation of 5 million jobs globally and a high return on investment.
UNEP in the report advised that finance can be sourced from both public and private sectors using approach that pay landowners for maintaining the ecosystems.

Yinka Awosanya/LS

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