Montserrado County Superintendent Florence Brandy wants government and partners to find an alternative to ongoing devastation of the forest for charcoal production.
Charcoal is a black or dark gray form of carbon, usually produced by heating wood or another organic substance in an enclosed space without air. It is used in homes as fuel for cooking, absorbent, in smelting, in explosives, and for drawing.
Speaking Wednesday, 20 February at a one-day validation workshop in Monrovia on the theme: “Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality in Liberia through Multi-Stakeholders Partnership”, she expressed dismay in seeing trucks loaded with charcoal being brought to Monrovia daily from rural Liberia due to increased demand for energy among the population.
Superintendent Brandy warns that as the population of the country increases, demand for homes will correspondingly rise, and that felling trees for charcoal production and pitsawing as sources of income by some Liberians would lead to further degradation of the land.
She calls for speedy passage of the local government bill currently before the Legislature to assist government in properly managing and preseving more lands, adding that if enacted, the act would serve as key guidiance on land usage in the country.
The document instroduced since 2015, seeks to establish a legislative assembly, raise local revenue, and taxes to enable counties and districts raise their own revenue for development, among others.
She notes that in some parts of Montserrado, including Mount Barclay, Fendell and Louisiana, among others, where the population has increased are now experiencing land degradation because of the widespread destruction of the forest to create land space.
Also speaking at the forum, Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Deputy Managing Director for Operations, Joseph Tally, wants local and international partners to collaborate and hold periodic consultation on issues affecting Liberia’s forest and ecosystem.
He says collaboration is necessary to ensure rightful data on forestry and ecosystem are properly disseminated, and assures that the door of the FDA is open for partners to advance ideas aimed enhancing the country’s forest and ecosystem.
Partners at the workshop discussed among others, technical review and validation of Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting, Overview of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Drought Initiative and Processes in Liberia.
In September 2015, the global community agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 target goals, urging countries to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reserve degraded land and soil.
By June 2018, about 117 countries, including Liberia have committed to set voluntary land degradation targets.
Several counties in Liberia are said to have experienced land degradation, including Montserrado, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, and Bomi.
The problem is said to be on the increase and if no intervention is made, it could pose serious threat to the economy.
The National Consultant of Land Degradation Neutrality Target Sitting Program here, Mr. Darlington S. Tuagben says land degradation has surged to the extent that it poses challenges to national and sector specifics.
He urges government and partners to sit with farmers to identify their challenges since they are direct users and preservers of the land. Editing by Jonathan Browne