Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State officially launched the Edo State Forestry Commission, which has been tasked with a 10-year mission to revive and restore the forests of Edo. The commission’s primary objectives include combatting deforestation and forest degradation, as well as developing the state’s forest resources.
The establishment of the commission aligns with the Edo State Forestry Commission law and aims to ensure the long-term preservation and protection of forest reserves and wildlife for future generations. The inauguration ceremony took place at the Okomu National Park in Udo, Ovia South West local government area.
Governor Obaseki expressed concern about the historical loss and degradation of forest lands, emphasizing the commission’s commitment to reversing this trend and utilizing forest and wildlife resources to promote ecosystem conservation.
Obaseki said: “We are fortunate in Edo because forestry management started here almost a100 years ago and we still have documents in our archives to show that. As far back as the 1920s, forest reserves were created and were managed under a 50-year felling circle, which means that if you are given the concession to log in that area, you are not allowed to come back to that area for another 50 years, you go somewhere else because you have to regrow that place where you cut those trees.
“We have always had this history of managing our forests even as late as 1995, we had a third working cycle where we planted for another 25 years but as I speak today, the government I came to meet, there was nothing about planning for forestry. There was nothing about sustainability.
“So, these setbacks we have suffered, by the grace of God, are being corrected today; because what has happened is that we have experienced a sharp reduction and degradation of our forest as a result of not only illegal loggers but so many practices.”
He recalled: “In 2018, specifically, April 14, I set up an advisory committee, I called experts to advise me on what to do and to look at the possibility of creating an institution that will help us manage our forest and wildlife resources sustainably because what has happened is that by mixing the issue of Forestry with other ministries like agriculture or environment, we never looked at the issue of forestry independently and dispassionately.