The Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) has established 160 hectares of National Mandate Tree Species across ecological zones in Nigeria between 2017 and 2018 under the national afforestation programme.
Dr Adeshola Adepoju, the Executive Director, FRIN, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan, yesterday that the institute achieved this feat through research breakthrough in tree-breeding and genetics and reducing the gestation period of some indigenous economic tree species.
He listed the tree species as; Vitellaria paradoxa (Shea butter tree) Garcinia kola (bitter kola) Irvinga gabonensis (Bush mango) among others.
He said the institute also established a herbal gene bank, developed herbal drugs and trained personnel on conservation of medicinal plants.
Adepoju also disclosed that soil research activities were carried out by the institute over the period under review.
He said this was to determine soil nutrients’ availability and the physical properties of soil that matched selected tree species to be planted within a particular locality.
“During the period, there was an increase of 25,000 plants collection to Forest Herbarium (FHI) which has more than 150,000 plants specimen and recognised as the largest herbarium in West Africa.
“FRIN developed an innovative process technology which converted wood wastes, principally sawdust and wood shavings, into decorative phase ceiling boards, flour and wall tiles.
“Due to the rapid loss of biodiversity globally, FRIN is focusing its research on conservation and domestication of the rare, threatened and critically endangered Flora and Fauna species, as identified by the International Union for conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“The training workshop on Botanical Research and Herberium Management (BRAHMS) System was undertaken through Capture of Primary Biodiversity Data on West African Plants, sponsored by JRS Biodiversity Foundation of U.S. this year.
“This data management tool is being extended to the broader Nigeria Science community to enhance the expertise of Herbarium workers/users, Plant Ecologists, Seed collectors, Plant Data Collectors, Plant Data keeper and Graduate Students,” he said.
The Executive Director said FRIN also developed a Forest Management plan for the Association of Charcoal Exporters of Nigeria (ACEN) for sustainable renewable energy production in the forest at Ora, in Kwara State.
He said to achieve its extension and dissemination mandate, six farming systems’ annual review workshops were organised by the institute to identify farmers’ problems in adopting FRIN research breakthrough.
“There were planning research activities on different models of Agroforestry, sensitisation for farmers and other beneficiaries of FRIN’s technologies on the need for further collaboration.
“Also, we sensitised the public on the importance of FRIN in food security through agroforestry in sustainable forest management.”
He noted that technologies such as edible mushroom cultivation, cane rat domestication and multiplication, snail farming, honey production and processing, were transferred to more than 1,000 farmers in FRIN adopted villages (Forest-based Rural Resource Centres).
He said other technologies transferred included seedlings production and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) processing and utilisation.
“United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in collaboration with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) through a Fund-in-Trust agreement, commenced a project on Green Economy in Biosphere Reserves (GEBR).
“The project aims to reduce poverty, bio diversify conservation and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa and FRIN is anchoring the project by establishing four livelihood enterprises in Omo biosphere for 200 project beneficiaries.
“The enterprises are: Fish farming/ production, snail rearing, mushroom production and wildlife (Grass cutter) domestication,” he said.
Adepoju noted that a bill for an act to establish the FRIN Bill, 2016; and other related matters, had been enacted by the National Assembly and assented to by the Presidency on Aug. 17, 2018.
He said that the FRIN Establishment Act had also been gazetted on Aug. 20, 2018.
The executive director said a restructuring and manpower development document was produced for the institute to enhance productivity, efficiency and focus-based research output.
“This policy document is positively directing the institute toward meeting her mandates in a better way.”
Adepoju, however, identified the institute’s challenge as low appreciation of its critical mandates in the sustainable environmental management by Nigerians in the rural areas.
“Another challenge is non-collaboration between private and public sectors in the protection of private and public businesses, through biodiversity conservation and sustainable environmental management practices.
“We have several other achievements not mentioned here, but in spite of these challenges, we will make more progress in 2019,” Adepoju said. (NAN)