They say the Garden of Eden (forest) was created as a home for Adam and Eve. It is evident that the forest was created for the purpose and the benefit of mankind, therefore, it needs to be protected. Unfortunately, human activities such as deforestation, environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity have affected the environment adversely. As a means to save the environment, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) has engaged in innovative approaches to curb environmental degradation and bio-diversity.
Nigeria is fast losing its stock of indigenous species and biodiversity as a result of enhanced devegetation. To restore our lost biodiversity, the need to guarantee in preservation, wide genetic resources including plants and wildlife of all classes is vital. FRIN is concentrating on this input. In-situ and ex-situ conservation plots in various ecologies in Nigeria have been established. They include the establishment of Arboreta and Medicinal Plants Gardens, and collaboration with Man and Biosphere (MAB-UNESCO) to conserve and preserve our vegetation. Substantial achievements have however been recorded.
In this vain, the Institute’s research activities focuses on the following:
The Ecology section of FRIN, through the establishment of inviolate plots across the ecological zones of Nigeria, have been monitoring the problems of natural regeneration and productivity of the tropical forest from where most of Nigeria industrial woods are derived. Till date, growths modeling for most of these forest types have been produced. Sufficient data accumulated over time provides a basis for addressing wider ecological issues on stand development, regeneration and stability in rain forest.
Tree plantation to curb environmental degradation
Eucalyptus camadulensis and Azadirachta indica are exotic candidate species for desertification control and general environmental protection. These species have been successfully planted recently in different parts of the country. Different types of forest trees of the mangrove e.g. Rhizophora racemosa and Rhizophora mangle have been identified and found to be adapted to the mangrove ecosystem. FRIN has succeeded in raising them at the nursery level. This should enhance their propagation whenever such purpose is desired.
Ongoing research work in the Institute identified Ganoderma lucidum, Rigidophoras lignosus and Trametes species as the root rot of teak limiting its successful establishment on plantation basis. The research will however rectify this problem and this will lead to the establishment success story of the species. Initial pines establishment on plantation basis in Nigeria experienced lots of setbacks. Research at the Institute identified the appropriate Mycorrhiza fungus essential for the successful establishment of the species on plantation basis in Nigeria today.
Management of Nature Reserves
Various management strategies were developed for the appropriate management of nature reserves. These include:
- Control burning to maintain fire climax for woodland and range land management.
- Silvicultural treatment such as thinning, cutting and regeneration of particular individual trees or population.
- Removal of predators such as parasites and weed species have led to healthy performance of forest ecosystem.
This is recently introduced to ensure mass seedling production and propagation of the indigenous tropical hardwood thereby fast-tracking the pace of re-forestation and consequently, the environmental preservation needs of the country. The ongoing project at the Biotechnology unit is Meta-transcriptomic of Milicia exelsa (Iroko tree) to fore stall the infestation of gall bug (Phytolyma lata), the major insect pest of this species.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Frinmedia (Nigeria) – frinmediaofficial(at)gmail.com
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