Logging in Cross River forests

Cross River loses 4000km2 of forest cover in 2 decades –  Report

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[From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar]

Cross River State has lost about 4000km2 of its forest cover in 2 decades.

This is contained in a report titled “Vanishing Forests”  which was published by two non governmental organizations –  Rainforest Resources  and Development Centre, RRDC as well as We The People.

Cross River State Gover, Prof Ben Ayade

The report detailed issues and drivers of deforestation in the Cross River rainforest between 1991 to 2014.

Details from the report showed that “as at 1991, the total forest cover located in Cross River State stood at 7,920km2 roughly covering 34.3% of the state’s overall surface area.

“By 2008, the forest cover underwent considerable decline and dropped about 6,102km2 and covering 28.68% of the states landmass.

“Another 1,307km2 of forest was lost in the 8byear period between 2000 and 2008 indicating 17.64 decline.

“Other data indicates that between 2000 and 2007 the forest loss was about 390km2 and between 2007 and 2014 the rate increased sharply to 1,070km2 in seven years”.

Logging in Cross River forests

The forests, the report indicated have come under severe attacks by several actors, including the state government, plantation companies and illegal loggers.

Odey Oyama, one of the author’s of the report from the RRDC said the state’s forests is fast vanishing and is largely as a result of the policies of the government.

In his words, “from permitting salvage logging, to granting concessions to commercial agricultural ventures  and carrying out infrastructure constructions that require destroying large sections of the forests, the government has not lived up to its claim of preserving the ecosystem.

“To preserve what remains of the forests, the government needs to cease all further concessions to commercial agricultural ventures near or within the forests.

“It needs to go further to address complaints that concessions already granted have expanded beyond their lines into the forests.

“It is important for the government to reexamine all the infrastructural projects it intends to carry out around forested areas.

“This is by carrying out independent and thorough environmental and social impact assessments, to unravel the ecological, economic and social implications of each Infrastructure project”, he said.

Also speaking, Ken Henshaw, the Executive Director of We The People said government policies that deprive the community agency of protecting forests should be reversed.

“While the colonial, regional and state governments saw the forest as a revenue resource, the indigenous people saw it as part of their heritage and existence.

“Government policies that deprive communities of agency in protecting the forests should be reversed and communities encouraged to take initiatives in again protecting the forests”, he said.

As part of the report, about 79 companies and individuals involved in “salvage logging” in the state were uncovered.

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