The Kebbi State Government said on Thursday that new measures would be adopted to curtail the loss of 350,000 hectares of forests to deforestation.
The Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Muhammad Marafa, disclosed this at the resumed inauguration of tree planting campaigns in Gayi village in the Kalgo Local Government Area of the state.
He said the tree planting campaigns had been suspended for long, despite the fact that deforestation seemed to be taking place in geometric progression, both in the state and the country at large.
“It has now been discovered that deforestation has progressed at about 3.5 per cent of the total forest area in the state in the last decade.
“This translates to the loss of about 350,000 hectares of forest land,’’ he said.
Marafa decried the rate of cutting down of trees and forests, without commensurate restoration.
He said the situation had rendered the environment bare and susceptible to desertification and soil erosion, with resultant effects in the formation of sand dunes and the drying of rivers/lakes in low- lying areas, thus rendering such lands unproductive.
The commissioner said the only remedy was to continue to plant trees, urging the government to embark on massive tree planting, the development of shelter-belts and the establishment of wood lots in the 21 forest reserves across the state.
Also speaking, the Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Alhaji Sulaiman Argungu, said the government had approved the production of one million tree seedlings, in order to carry out various environmental programmes in the state.
He said the state government would seek better management of environmental control, to enhance sustainable development.
Bagudu directed citizens and local government councils to obtain seedlings for free at Forest Offices throughout the state for planting, to help to stabilise the environment for sustainable development. (NAN)