The Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Ibadan, said it had identified 120 indigenous species in 2016 that could foster effective economic diversification and improve Nigeria’s economy if well developed.
The Institute’s Executive Director, Dr Adeshola Adepoju, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Friday.
Adepoju said scientists in the Institute would work on the domestication of the species and shorten the gestation period.
He explained that “some species take 20, 30 to 40 years before they can mature, but we have succeeded in reducing most of them to less than 10 years and still working on them to reduce it to five years to be more valuable.
“Once individuals engage in their establishment, it will lead to job creation, improvement of industries and a source of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for us.
“Apart from its social and environmental contributions, every plantation established in one hectare has positive impact on the environment, climate and even windbreak.”
The director said that the institute was also able to come up with various maps which helped it to discover the value of the country’s natural forested area.
He added that through it, the Institute had discovered that Nigeria was below natural forested area with five per cent by international standard.
“We are working tirelessly to achieve the mandate of getting the country back to 25 per cent forested areas before 2025.
“We have also been able to train scientists and created a team on forest inventory assessment.
“Our colleges have also graduated many students this year that will boost the capability of local and state governments in afforestation activities.”
Adepoju said that to achieve the Institute’s goal; it partnered with Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Niger states and was about partnering with Kaduna State Government.
“We have a project in Zamfara, where we intend to support local communities from further encroachment by introducing solar light and conducive environment for them,” he said.
The Institute boss stressed the need to create serious advocacy for people to pay attention to the importance of forestry, saying the benefits affect every area of human life.
To tackle the menace of deforestation, he urged financial institutions to encourage Nigerians to go into forest business, stressing that the responsibility should not be left to government alone.