John ODHE, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State government has raised the alarm over what it described as widespread deforestation in the state.
Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri raised the alarm during this year’s celebration of World Forest Day entitled Forest Restoration; a partway to recovery and well-being.
While cautioning Bayelsans on the dangers of indiscriminate cutting down of trees, the commissioner revealed that the state government has earmarked six areas for forest reserves.
He highlighted the proposed six forest reserves across the state to include: Talor Creek Forest Reserve, Edumanom Forest Reserve, Apoi Creek Forest Reserve, Nun River Forest Reserve, Igbedi Creek Forest Reserve and Ikebiri Creek Forest Reserve.
Gbaranbiri used the occasion to plead with the state governor, Senator Douye Diri, to kickstart the process of establishing four of the proposed forest reserves as a way of checking the ongoing destruction of both economic and environment protecting trees.
He said “Bayelsa is known for its luxuriant vegetation but it’s also a known fact that deforestation is very high in the state. Deforestation of the mangrove vegetation is in an alarming rate, reducing their capacity as a natural coastal defence.
“It is rendering coastal areas more vulnerable to effects of sea level rise,” he said, noting that to regain the fast vanishing forest, the state should embark on massive afforestation programme and put mechanisms in place to stop lumbering and other forest destruction acts.
The commissioner warned those involved in any form of illegal deforestation to desist forthwith or face the music.