AAUA 22nd Inaugural Lecture: Prof Gbadamosi raises alarm over unchecked destruction of forests

….. Urges Govt to Revive Moribund Paper Mills.

A don, Professor Alaba Gbadamosi, has said the destruction of the earth’s natural habitat through unchecked human activities is destroying the global ecosystem and has brought the earth to the brink of unmitigated disaster that can lead to disastrous consequences for the globe.

This was the submission of Professor Alaba Gbadamosi, a Professor of Silviculture and Plant Biotechnology, while delivering the 22nd Inaugural Lecture at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

The Lecture was titled “The Earth’s Heating Mantle: Forest to the Rescue.”

Professor Gbadamosi’s lecture emphasized the critical state of the global ecosystem, highlighting the imminent threat of unmitigated disaster unless immediate and concerted actions are taken to curb deforestation.

The professor, drawing attention to the interconnectedness of environmental health and global well-being, asserted that building a healthy economy or nation would be impossible on an unhealthy planet.

He underlined that environmental degradation, particularly through deforestation, contributes significantly to climate change, biodiversity loss, and the emergence of new diseases.

The Lecturer, who is also the Dean of the Institution’s Faculty of Agriculture, stressed that unless there are collaborative efforts among relevant agencies and stakeholders, along with a more rational use of natural resources, the alarming trend will persist.

The consequences of unchecked destruction of the earth’s forests and biodiversity, according to the Inaugural Lecturer, include global warming leading to flooding that threatens coastal cities, a rise in the earth’s temperature, and disastrous changes in climate and weather conditions resulting in drought and famine.

To address these looming crises, Prof. Gbadamosi proposed immediate measures, including a halt to deforestation activities, an increase in small-scale forest holdings and community forests, resuscitation of efficient forestry services, sustainable yield models, adequate funding, establishment of ecological zones, and public enlightenment on the dangers of indiscriminate bush burning.

He emphasized the crucial role of forests and trees in addressing environmental challenges, advocating for the maintenance and restoration of degraded lands, expansion of agroforestry, and the adoption of sustainable forest use practices, while highlighting the need to address the poverty index in tropical nations with vast forest estates.

He added that, “Forests and trees can play crucial roles in addressing these crises and moving towards sustainable economies, therefore, there must be an urgent halt to deforestation activities, maintenance of forests, restoration of degraded lands, and expansion of agroforestry, and embracing sustainable use of forests.

“The poverty index in tropical nations with vast forest estates should be addressed; we cannot expect too much from a poor and hungry people as regards the preservation of biodiversity and conservation of the forests.”

He noted as one of the factors fueling the farmers/herders clashes in Nigeria, the drying up of river basins in certain areas as seen in the case of Lake Chad River Basin, caused by the unreasonable use of the environment.

He said, “While there may seem to be an expansionist scheme in the herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria, the fact remains that the grazing and water resources available for nomadic cattle rearing have been limited by climate change and the business interest of herders has been threatened hence the continued conflicts and disagreements since the early 2000.”

Prof. Gbadamosi urged governments at all levels to revive moribund paper mills across Nigeria. He said, “Governments at the national and state levels should form a synergy towards reviving the moribund paper mills scattered all over Nigeria and stop the shameful capital flight in the importation of pulp and paper products.”

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, introducing the Inaugural Lecturer, emphasized the importance of Inaugural lectures as platforms for researchers to share the benefits of their work and offer recommendations for addressing current challenges.

He praised Prof. Gbadamosi for his significant contributions to the University and society at large, both in academic and administrative roles.

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