As the global community marks the International Day of Forests, the Executive Director, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Ibadan, Dr Adeshola Adepoju, has called for more sustained efforts in the planting of trees in urban areas.
Adepoju told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Wednesday that planting of trees in cities would reduce air pollution.
He also stressed the need for households to plant trees around their environment in order to obtain a healthy atmosphere.
“Forests, trees help to regulate temperature and water flow, provide nutritious foods and shelter as well as cleanse the air while fostering community cohesion and individual well-being,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Bridget Olawuyi, a Lecturer at the Federal College of Forestry (FCF), Ibadan, emphasised the need for urban forestry, saying this is the care and management of single trees and tree populations in urban setting for the purpose of improving urban environment.
She said urban forestry could increase land and property value by as much as 20 per cent when landscaped and tended, adding that it provides aesthetic value and improvement in quality of life.
“It reduces crime by revitalising neighbourhoods and fostering the social ties needed to empower citizens; it functions in the area of stress reduction, especially for people who drive or walk along tree lined streets,” she said.
Olawuyi said large and small-scale ecosystem services and benefits of urban forests should be quantified while economic evaluation of urban forest ecosystem services should be conducted.
The Forester stressed the need for effective management and maintenance of urban trees to increase their lifespan and maximise the return on investments in urban forestry programmes.
“ While urban trees should be used as stepping stone for designing sustainable cities, indicators of a healthy, functioning, sustainable urban ecosystem should be identified to achieve the theme,” she said.
Also speaking, the Head of Department, Forestry Technology, FCF, Ibadan, Dr Olufunmilayo Aderounmu, said timber and non-timber forest products provide answers to basic needs of man such as food and shelter.
According to Aderounmu, trees act as a sink for carbondioxide while the oxygen released by are needed for human breath.
“The implication is that when the last tree dies, the last man dies, there is therefore the need for sustainable exploitation of forest resources.
“People should embrace tree planting in their surroundings while afforerestation/tree planting programmes by states should move from ceremony to reality on ground.
“The decision to de-reserve forest reserves by states in the name of IGR should be given a second thought for sustenance of the current and future generations.
NAN reports that this year’s theme is ‘Forests for Sustainable Cities.’’ (NAN)