TOGO: Government to restore 35,000 hectares of forests

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TOGO: Government to restore 35,000 hectares of forests©Dennis Wegewijs/Shutterstock

Togo intends to restore 35,000 hectares of forest this year. The commitment was made by the government on the 1st of June 2020, the day of the celebration of the 40th edition of the National Tree Day.

The vision of a green Togo is still going strong. The government reforestation strategies put in place are a perfect illustration of this. These strategies are now reflected in the Reforestation and Forest Landscape Restoration Project in all prefectures of Togo. “This project plans to restore 35,000 hectares of forest by 2020, including 10,000 hectares of new planted areas, 5,000 hectares of agroforests and 20,000 hectares of enriched forests”, said the Minister of the Environment, Sustainable Development and Nature Protection, David Wonou Oladokoun, on the occasion of the celebration of the 40th National Tree Day on June 1, 2020.

While this project to restore 35,000 hectares of forests is part of the national reforestation programme (PNR, 2017-2021), it also represents one of the segments of the African Union’s African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), which aims to restore 1.4 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes by 2030.

Covid-19 may hamper reforestation efforts in Togo

Although optimistic about the impact of reforestation in Togo, the authorities fear the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on project implementation. In his message, the Togolese Minister of the Environment did not fail to raise this issue, before inviting all the reforestation actors to apply anti-covid-19 measures in the execution of their respective missions. “This year is special because of the state of emergency decreed by the government to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I invite all public and private structures, local authorities, civil society organizations, individuals and any other organization with reforestation projects to scrupulously respect the social distancing measures on their sites”.

The National Tree Day in Togo was instituted on the 1st of June 1977 by the then President, the late General Gnassingbé Eyadema, nicknamed the “Father of the Nation”. Tradition has it that on this date, every Togolese citizen should plant at least one tree, to symbolise reforestation and the struggle for environmental protection and sustainable development.

The Togolese need a real forest restoration in order to reconcile their efforts to protect the environment and their consumption of wood energy. Official projections indicate that the need for wood energy in this West African country will increase to 10 million cubic metres in 2030 and double by 2050. Deforestation, which the current forest potential of 75 million cubic metres cannot sustainably cover. Without even mentioning the disappearance of the services rendered to man by the forest ecosystem…

Boris Ngounou

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