A lecturer with the Department of Forestry and Wildlife, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Mr. John Ogbodo, has called on Nigerians to protect biodiversity due to its critical role in the survival of humans on earth.
Mr Ogbodo made the call while commenting on the 2021 World Biodiversity Day commemorated, to increase local, national and international understanding on issues surrounding biodiversity and to ensure the adaptation of adequate biodiversity conservation measures.
Speaking on the theme of the day, “We are part of the solution for nature”, the Lecturer, who is also the Vice President, International Society for Tropical Foresters, Nigeria Chapter, mentioned what must be done to conserve the biodiversity in Nigeria, which he noted is key to survival of humans especially those who live around reserves.
“Natural forests are home to the vast majority of the terrestrial plants and animals species. In there, numerous amphibians, birds, mammals, tree species, different types of herbs reside”.
“Communities that live within forests rely directly on forest diversity for their lives and livelihoods, using products derived from forest resources for food, fodder, shelter, energy, medicine and income generation”
Mr Ogbodo explained that bio-diversity also plays vital role in the carbon, water and nutrients circles and its link with food production including seed dispenser and crop pollination. He however regretted that tropical deforestation has not only undermined conservation of natural forests in the country but also taken its negative tolls on the biodiversity, the people and the planet.
“It also threatens the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including those seeking to protect lives on land, which is goal number fifteen, eliminate poverty, which is goal number one, hunger (goal number two) and promote climate action (goal number thirteen) and the goal on health”.
“Let us not forget that deforestation and forest fragmentation often result in greater contact between humans, livestock and wildlife, which in turn increases the risk of zoonotic diseases such as the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic” Mr Ogbodo submitted.
The Don noted that Nigeria can end deforestation if government and the citizens work together to meet the increasing demands for agricultural products, limit the expansion of agriculture into forest areas as well as restore the productivity of the degraded agricultural lands, reduce food loss and waste as well as educate consumers.