Forests are important for life because they purify the air people breathe and filter drinking water. They prevent soil erosion and buffer climate change.
The World Bank observes that standing forests also address the impacts of climate change as they absorb greenhouse gases, regulate water flows and protect coastal communities from calamities such as sea level rise.
In addition, trees provide pathways for migrating plant and animal species to resilient habitats. Forests and trees are the cornerstone of the fight against climate change.
The impacts of climate change, such as rising temperatures and increasingly unpredictable rainfall, also mean that forests are more vulnerable to threats such as disease or fire.
Professor Godwin Kowero, who has worked on forest economics in African countries, adds that forests and trees outside forests are resources that need to be managed sustainably and used wisely to meet people’s needs and improve livelihoods. environment in which they live.
Professor Kowero is the Managing Director of the African Forest Forum (AFF), a pan-African forestry institution based in Nairobi, Kenya. He made the remarks during a five-day physical and hybrid conference titled “Challenges and Opportunities in Forest Management in Africa” held from March 28 to April 1, 2022 in Mombasa, Kenya.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), forests play an important role in determining the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They absorb 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year (as of 2020).
Faced with the loss of forest cover, the effects of climate change are being felt, calling for mitigation efforts to reduce or prevent greenhouse gas emissions.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 15.2% or about 2,988,000 hectares of Uganda is forested. The country has 506 central forest reserves which are part of the protected areas.
At the continental level, 22.7% or approximately 674,419,000 hectares of Africa are forested. Between 1990 and 2010, Africa lost an average of 3,740,950 hectares or 0.50% per year.
Between 1990 and 2010, Uganda lost 37.1% of its forest cover, or approximately 1,763,000 ha. Ugandan forests contain 109 million metric tons of carbon in living forest biomass.
In deliberating on the state of forestry in Africa, some scholars and environmentalists from the region and the East African continent discussed mechanisms for adaptation and mitigation of climate change, such as improving land use and forest resource management.
As the climate changes, temperatures and rainfall also increase, which in turn affects agricultural production, food security and cash crop incomes. Forests, as essential resources for mitigating climate change, must be well managed.
Thus, the participants strongly discussed the protection of forests in the face of economic development. The topic was in line with the Paris Agreement which aims to avoid climate change by limiting global warming and helping countries cope with its impacts.
Conference participants also sought to explain in depth the need for better forest management which, in turn, will better address the impacts of climate change, as well as contribute to poverty reduction and environmental protection in Africa.
According to Greenpeace, a movement of people passionate about defending the natural world from destruction, changing our primary sources of energy to clean, renewable energy is the best way to stop using fossil fuels.
“These include technologies such as solar, wind, wave, tidal and geothermal energy. Switch to sustainable transportation. Gasoline and diesel vehicles, planes and boats use fossil fuels,” observes the movement.