- UNDP GEF-SGP, NCF redefine forest management for communities
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation, with support from the United Nations Office for Project Services and the Global Environment Facility, Small Grant Programme says it is redefining forest management, conservation of landscape and rural livelihoods in selected forest-edge communities of Ebok, Kabakken and Ebranta in Boje, Boki Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State.
According to the NCF, community forest contributes to the sustainable livelihoods of millions of rural people living in developing nations, making community involvement important in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the REDD+ project, an initiative to combat the effects of deforestation, as well as promote climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The foundation stated that in 2017, with the support of the GEF-SGP, it set up the Community-Based REDD+ programme also known as the CBR+ to promote activities that boost poverty eradication, promote improved crop varieties and yields, gender empowerment, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
It added that through the funding, Ebok, Kabakken and Ebranta communities cultivated two acres of land with improved cassava stem cuttings, set up cassava processing mills, cultivation and domestication of Afang Gnetum africanum by community members and harvesting of non-timber forest products such as bush mango as part of efforts to reduce forest loss through improved agricultural practices.
The NCF said proceeds of the harvest were shared among women and youths in the communities to supplement their income.
The foundation added, “In addition to the cassava, vegetable and NTFPs’ cultivation, the three communities commenced the cultivation of cocoyam on two acres each, using improved farming methods and multiplication of planting materials.
“In order to restore and cope with the impact of landslide-affected community forests, 4,000 tree seedlings raised by the beneficiary communities were planted to restore degraded forests. To prevent hunting of animals in the wild, poultry (turkey) and snail farms were established in the three communities to enhance food security.”
The NCF said the estimated beneficiaries were 36 households comprising about 250 individuals, whose income levels improved by 10 per cent.
It added that 15 forest eco-guards made up of five representatives from each community had been established and along with the community council of chiefs, noting that they would make up the natural resources governance committee.
The foundation said the facilitator for community forest bye-laws at the training, Mr. Tony Attah, applauded it for the strides made and called on the people to take advantage of the opportunities that the CBR+ project would bring.