Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scientists call for investments in dryland forests

Anthony Aisi and Eric Akasa in Africa Science News: Scientists are concerned that despite clear evidence of their benefits – and of the disasters that occur in the wake of their loss – dryland forest protection and restoration is receiving scant attention compared to humid forest preservation. They point out that this disparity is particularly evident within discussions of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

However, the scientists say restoring and preserving the dryland forests and planting more trees to provide food, fodder and fertilizer on small farms are critical steps toward preventing the recurrence of the famine now threatening millions of people in the Horn of Africa.

Across the Horn, drought-induced famine has claimed tens of thousands of lives and swelled refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and elsewhere, with millions of starving people – many of them children. Bearing the brunt of the crisis is Somalia, which not coincidentally is also a country that has lost a significant amount of its forests. Experts say forest destruction and other forms of human-caused land degradation have done far more than the drought to turn vast areas of once grazeable and farmable land into a lunar-like landscape.

“Forests and trees frequently form the basis of livelihood diversification, risk-minimization and coping strategies, especially for the most vulnerable households such as those led by women,” said Frances Seymour, director general of the CGIAR’s Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “However, deforestation and land degradation have hindered capacities to cope with disasters and adapt to climate variability and change in the long-term.”...

Almadow Forest, northern Somalia (area claimed by Somaliland, Puntland and Maakhir); shot by Abdirisak


Anonymous said...

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anthony aisi said...

thanks for using my article,