For investment in tree production to be more profitable, the concept of total tree utilization must be practiced locally, experts in the forestry sub-sector have suggested.
Experts also advocate that urgent measures must be taken to reduce the use of wood for domestic energy production.
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A wood products engineer, Abimbola Ogunwusi, recalled that the logging industry in Nigeria contributed significantly to local and international trade in the 1960s to 1980s.
According to him, the industry, which includes both informal and formal wood product manufacturing enterprises such as pulp and paper mills, sawmills, plywood mills, particleboard mills and furniture, contributed significantly to local currency earnings.
He said, however, that since the 1990s a number of factors have combined to limit the sustainability of the industry.
These, he says, include the reduced availability of economical wood species, the growing reliance on obsolete equipment and the technology employed by the many small-scale processors. This results in a large amount of wood waste.
He suggested that attention be paid to using wood waste generation for domestic and industrial energy instead of using timber, which he said led to deforestation. of the country’s forest reserves.
“Currently, more than 80% of the population depends on woody biomass for their domestic energy production. This practice leads to acute deforestation. Available statistics indicate that the forest estate in Nigeria is less than 6% of the land area, while the total volume of usable timber up to 30 cm diameter cut in forest resources is 437,507,205 cc” , he noted.
As a result, Abimbola said urgent steps must be taken to reduce the use of wood for household energy production. Globally, there is a growing awareness on the use of wood waste in the form of briquettes and pellets as domestic or industrial fuel. Using wood waste to produce energy opens up possibilities for sustainable energy production at the local level.
For the Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC), one of the main issues limiting the optimal use of locally available timber is that timber processors struggle to dry timber to around 12% moisture content or less.
This problem, said the Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Hussaini Dokko Ibrahim, has largely been solved by the development of wood drying kilns by the Council in conjunction with the Scientific Equipment Development Institute, Enugu, a center of NASENI and Palcon Nigeria Limited, also based in Enugu.
Also, to increase the availability of industrial wood locally, the Council promotes the industrial processing and production of bamboo locally.
“The Council is collaborating with private sector investors to produce bamboo wall and floor tiles. To consolidate these efforts, the Board is also collaborating with some private sector investors, especially Gamla Nigeria Limited Asaba, to establish bamboo plantations and plantations of indigenous species of economic hardwoods such as Khaya senegalensis, etc., necessary for the timber industry in the country,” says Professor HD Ibrahim.
In the same vein, the Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) has developed the technology for manufacturing floor tiles, wall tiles, including ceiling panels on a commercial basis. The latest development in wood waste utilization at FRIN is the application of lamination techniques where sawdust, cement boards and veneers are glued together in strips called SP boards.
But Mr. Toyin Afolabi, a retired forest officer, insisted that for these initiatives to be sustained and sustained, the government must urgently create appropriate means for the delineation and implementation of the results of the forest. research.
In addition, he said, a policy is needed that will enhance private sector involvement in the commercialization of these research efforts.