The Taraba State Government has been enjoined to institutionalise and build on the Participatory Forest Management approach to natural resources conservation initiated by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF).
As part of efforts to arrest the degradation of forest caused by overexploitation of timber products, the Foundation implemented Participatory Forest Management Project where Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum was formed to see to community involvement in the management of forests in Taraba State.
Speaking at a two-day Stakeholders’ Workshop on ‘Forest Conservation’ in Baissa, Kurmi LGA of Taraba State organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation with the support of Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Technical Adviser of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Mr. Ibrahim Inahoro attributed the unsustainable management of forest resources in the State to ineffectiveness of the forestry Institutions in the State. According to him, though the State Government set up a Forestry Task Force Committee, much is yet to be done to curb the rate of forest degradation in the State.
The Director of Forestry, Taraba State, Mr. Samuel Tetule in his opening remark reiterated the government’s commitment in supporting all efforts made towards the protection of forest and other natural resources in the state.
Some of the recommendations to ensure the effective management of forest resources in Taraba State suggested by the participants at the workshop included: general awareness campaign on the immediate and future benefits of forest conservation targeting youth, the need for a strong political will and commitment of the state and local government on forest conservation and management and improved funding for the forestry sector by all tiers of government through counterpart agreement among others.
The participants also appeal to the government to enact and enforce bye laws on community forestry governance structure and ownership, train and provide financial mechanism for the development of alternative income generation ventures (enterprise options) that will reduce dependence on forest while preparing a roadmap and mechanism for forest communities and the state to benefit from the UNREDD+ Programme.