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Unsustainable land-use threats ecosystems and habitats

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Prof. Adepoju

The chair of the Man And the Biosphere Programme International Coordinating Council (MAB-ICC) has said that unsustainable land-use practices, teamed with overexploitation of resources and ineffective management of protected areas pose serious threats to the maintenance of both ecosystems and habitats.

Prof. Adeshola Olatunde Adepoju, who is also director-general of the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, said most of the world’s ecosystems have been critically degraded with negative impacts on biological diversity and peoples’ livelihoods.

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He made the disclosure on Monday, June 28, 2021, at the start of a five-day Regional Training Workshop on “Green Economy in Biosphere Reserve Methodology (GEBR) and Operations of Man and Biosphere Committees” organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Multisectoral Regional Office based in Abuja, Nigeria in collaboration with the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) being held in Monrovia, Liberia.

The workshop brings together participants from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Professor Adepoju noted the human global population currently stands at 7.8 billion, and predictably, it is expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030 and 9.8 billion by 2050, adding that these exponential increases in population and urbanization will have implications on the finite natural resources.

He said the concept of Green Economy in Biosphere Reserve is predicated on providing alternative livelihood options, income-generating, and biodiversity-friendly activities for women and youth in particular.

He added that these are people-centered solutions towards more sustainable development whilst highlighting the crucial role people play as both instruments and beneficiaries in the conservation of Biosphere Reserves.

The Nigerian forester continued that the GEBR project was centered on the diversification of the economy through improved and alternative biodiversity-related livelihoods to reduce pressure on the forest due to fuelwood extraction for heating and cooking purposes and build the capacity of communities.

He explained the implementation of the project involved the establishment of selected alternative livelihood enterprises such as fish farming, snail farming, grass cutter domestication, and mushroom production for communities within the biosphere reserve.

Professor Adepoju noted that the Nigerian Green Economic model was adapted for countries around Lake Chad, culminating in developing a training module on GEBR methodologies and capacity building of five African countries – Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, and Nigeria in 2018.

According to him, out of the experience and technical expertise of the Nigeria Man and the Biosphere Committee, three new biosphere reserves were designated in 2020.

He revealed that the institute recently won a US$20, 000 UNESCO grant towards implementing a project on improving the livelihoods of women and youth through capacity building and empowerment in green enterprises.

The MAB-ICC chair stated that all these would not have been possible with the presence of a solid governance structure and a strong MAB National Committee.

He narrated that it is on this premise that the regional training was conceptualized to train MAB experts and managers of BRs and protected areas in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea on GEBR methodology.

Professor Adepoju emphasized that the operation of national MAB Committees and nomination of Biosphere Reserve will go a long way to providing technical support for establishing a MAB committee in Liberia and adopting a Liberian model in strengthening the capacity of experts from Guinea and Sierra Leone.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/fci-seeks-more-women-participation-in-forest-governance/ Editing by Jonathan Browne

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