THE Federal Government has issued guidelines on the felling of trees and exportation of wood.
The Director of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment, Phillip Bankole, made this known recently while announcing the suspension of the ban on wood exports.
Some of the guidelines include the issuance of a new international trade certification for wood exports and the cut-one-tree-and-plant-five policy with a view to arresting deforestation as well as preserving the environment
Bankole said that the government was concerned about the degradation of the environment due the activities of wood exporters that cut down trees without replanting.
He, however, said the lifting of the ban was partial after which government would further review the situation and know what next to do with regard to wood exportation.
He explained that the forest was being conserved not only for wood exportation but for other purposes, adding that Nigeria had fallen short of reserving about 25 percent of its land for afforestation currently at less than five per cent.
“The solution to this problem is to plant more trees. Those of you that are involved in the wood export business will know that there are some species of woods that have gone into extinction.
“Iroko, Obeche, mahogany and ebony trees have all disappeared. So much is being taken from the forest and little or nothing is being ploughed back into it,” Bankole said.
He lamented the exportation of wood in its raw form without the addition of any value, stressing that so many jobs had been lost as a result.
He said, “Only processed or semi-processed woods will be allowed for export. There is a need to add value at every stage of processing these woods for export, so that we can create labour and reduce poverty.
“Any consignment for export that is not accompanied by certification will be confiscated by the destination country,” Bankole warned.
The President of the Tropical Wood Exporters Association of Nigeria, Mr. Tayo Omotoye, said the preservation of the environment was not negotiable in the wood export business.