July 31, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Country Representative for the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has recokned that deforestation is leading to large scale land degradation, loss of biodiversity and demnisihed land productivity in Sierra Leone.
According to Nyabenyi Tipo, the said impacts have negative impact on the livelihoods of local communities including limited access to critical forest resources and loss of agricultural productivity.
She was speaking at the official launch of the national tree planting drive 2017 for western area water catchment areas by the ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and partners.
Realising the threats to forest cover, with unclear tenure rights, madam Tipo stated that they worked with the Ministries of Lands, Country Planning and Environment, Local Government and Rural Development, Agriculture, Justice and Fisheries and Marine Resources to implement the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsble Governance of Tenure of Lands, Fisheries and Forests in the context of the National Food Seurity (VGGT).
She said it was evident that involvement of local communities is an efficient way of protecting the remaining forest reaources, regenerating degraded ones, and restoring the landscape, while also promoting ownership especially when the communities are granted the rights to own the land and its resources.
She recalled that in 2014, FAO provided legal support to the development of a national land policy, fisheries and forestry bills under the G7 Sierra Leone‐Germany‐FAO tripartite Land Partnership.
“The land areas under improved forest management through CBF is estimated to be over 600 acres. Each of these four pilot sites have setup their own Community Forest Committee (CFC). Recently, over 4000 tree seedlings were transplanted at the degraded areas of these community forests,” she said.
She maintaned that the tree planting drive will contribute to the restoration of the forest cover in the country, thus promoting the use of renewable energy, mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration and storage.
In 2016, FAO partnered with the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture to develop a Community Based Forestry (CBF) Concept which was validated and offically launched in Freetown by key stakeholders in 2017.