Forestry is fundamental for South Sudan’s national development and biodiversity

By: Beek Mabior, Nairobi, Kenya

Thursday October 8, 2020 (SS24News)

The importance of forestry in every country worldwide cannot be taken for granted. Forestry is crucial for the country and the entire ecosystem. South Sudan is endowed with woodlands and natural forests. In many parts of the country, there’re forests that covered the greater Equatoria, Upper Nile and Barl El Ghazal Regions.

In Equatoria region; especially in eastern and western parts of Equatoria, there’re many tropical forests which covered many areas in those two states of Equatoria region.

Moreover, in Central Equatoria, there’re many forests around Yei and Kaya. The forests in those two areas are tropical forests which’ve existed for centuries. Furthermore, in western Equatoria, especially in Yambio and Mundri. There’re many tropical rainforests. However, those forests in many parts of South Sudan are facing extinction due to deforestation that is rampant in those areas.

They major causes of deforestation are: construction industry, fuelwood collection, charcoal production, agricultural cultivation, and livestock rearing. Furthermore, according to various studies, there’re an estimated total area of 191, 667 km2 which take up about 30% of the total land area of the country. However, the forests in our country have been deeply affected by the prolonged decades of civil wars.

Additionally, there’re number of studies which’ve reported yearly forest loss of 2% and if forestry is not well sustained then, there’ll be total loss of forests within fifty years (AWEPA, 2007). So there’s a strong need to come up with effective forestry’s programmes, legislation and efficient policies to safeguard our forest assets in South Sudan. However, deforestation is the biggest threat to forestry in South Sudan at the moment.

There’s serious illegal logging and charcoal burning taking place right now across the country in all the three regions of South Sudan, Equatoria, Upper Nile and Barl el Ghazal.

Moreover, there’re many benefits that South Sudan can get from forest assets. The significance of the forest assets cannot be underestimated. We rely on forests for many things. The wood for cooking, the air we breathe, the livelihoods for humankind, water catchment areas, habitats for wildlife, prevention of soil erosion, to mitigate climate change and prevent desertification.

Furthermore, forests are habitats for livelihoods for mankind and biodiversity on earth.
Forests act as habitats for various wildlife species. They’re habitats to over 70% of the world’s biodiversity. They also help in providing livelihoods to many various settlements of humanity including over fifty million indigenous people. Additionally, forests also assist in the creation of job opportunities to millions of people across the globe. And when we destroy the forests, it is not the trees that suffer alone.

The whole ecosystem begins to get extinction and with the dire repercussion for all mankind on earth. Additionally, there’re many benefits that humans get from the forests. They industries, companies and agricultural sector need forests for raw materials. We need forests for food stuff, we need forest for building materials, we need forests for water catchment areas, we need forests for fuel security, we need forests for juices and fruits industries, we need forests for paper industry, we need forests for woods and we need forests for medicines, detergents and cosmetics in industries and etc.

Also, forests are the earth’s largest storehouses of carbon and they help in absorbing unhealthy greenhouses that engineer climate change. Moreover, in tropical rainforests, a quarter of more than billions of tons of carbon is stored on top and below ground biomass. Forests help during natural calamities like rainfalls and floods. Forests safeguard watersheds and prevent soil erosion and chemicals that reach waterways.

Furthermore, forests clean air, water and soil. Forests help in purifying the air of unhealthy pollutants, including the nitrogen dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine dust. Moreover, they can as well purify polluted soils. Forests contribute to healthy environment in a country. Forests help in the agricultural soil fertility. Forests assist in slowing down global warming.

Forests are the earth’s biggest carbon sink. When there’re many forests, there is less CO2 in the atmosphere and little global warming.
Forests also have immense economic significance and they’re a treasury of medicinal trees and pharmaceutical ingredients on the mother earth. In conclusion, we need to protect our precious forest resources in South Sudan. Our government, ministry of environment and international development partners need to come together to create effective and efficient environmental policies to safeguard our natural forest resources in South Sudan from extinction.

The teak trees in Western and Central Equatoria are nearing disappearance due to illegal deforestation. We need serious afforestation, agroforestry and reforestation to replace the trees the country has loss over many decades of deforestation and charcoal burning in South Sudan. The South Sudan Environmental Advocates (SSEA) is working tirelessly to raise awareness and sensitization on enormous challenges facing forests across the country. Our vision and mission is to see that our precious forests are restore back and safeguard from deforestation.

They South Sudanese people have no civil conflict with forests in South Sudan and those destroying forests should know that. So let protect our lovely forests and the entire biodiversity from extinction for the benefit of the current and future generations in South Sudan.

The author is the National Project Coordinator of South Sudan Environmental Advocates (SSEA) and can be reached via his Email: web:

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