The main thrust for forestry development and natural resources conservation is to provide the policy framework for the sustainable utilization and management of forest resources nationwide as well as ensuring that available natural resources are utilized sustainably. Equally important is the evolution of programmes and strategies for the rational use, management and conservation of the nation's natural resources.
The Federal Department of Forestry was established in 1970 to coordinate forestry and conservation activities throughout the country. Its functions are to initiate and formulate national forest policy and foster forestry and environmental development, promote and fund projects of national interest, coordinate and monitor Federal Government/donor supported forestry and conservation initiatives in the States as well as ensuring institutional development.
The Department was transferred from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to the Federal Ministry of Environment in 1999 by a Presidential directive.
To ensure that 25% of the total land area of Nigeria is brought under sustainably managed forest cover aimed at producing forest resources (flora and fauna) in perpetuity and foster environmental stability.
To employ sound forest management principles and practices and initiate or develop appropriate forestry development programmes, policy and legislation in partnership with relevant stakeholders (national and international) using its abundant human and material resources.
The Department on transfer to the Ministry of Environment was restructured with the following mandates:
- Advising the Federal Government on forestry development as well as liaising with the States Forestry Services;
- Ensuring the application of sound and efficient forest management systems for the sustainable production of forestry goods and services;
- Coordination of activities/issues pertaining to conservation, protection, utilization and renewal of the forest resources
- Coordinating collaborations with international organizations on forestry matters;
- Disseminating technical and professional information as well as organising national and international assistance;
- Formulation of national Forestry, Conservation and Wildlife Policies and Legislations;
- Promoting and enhancing the development of forestry management capacities in Nigeria;
- Providing extension and advisory services to the States for the improvement and promotion of forestry;
- Coordination of conservation and sustainable utilization of biological resources;
- Assisting to monitor, evaluate and appraise forestry and conservation projects throughout the country and the Management of Forestry/Conservation Information and Data Bases;
- Manpower development and Training/ Capacity Building;
- Promoting Research and Development;
- Natural Resources Assessment and Auditing;
- Enforcement of Forestry, Conservation and Wildlife legislations;
- Linkages with relevant sectors of the economy on cross cutting issues;
- International Cooperation on Agreements, Conventions and Treaties that Nigeria is party to, and
- Other emerging Forestry and Conservation issues (e.g. Climate Change, Bio-energy, etc)
Organizational Structure of the Department
The Department is organized into six divisions for effective implementation of its mandates. The divisions are as follows:
- Forest Management;
- Forest Resources Assessment;
- Forest Product Utilization;
- Agro - Forestry & Extension
- Forest Conservation;
- Wildlife Management
NATIONAL FORESTRY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE;
The National Forestry Development Committee (NFDC) is the highest technical committee that acts in an advisory capacity to government on all forestry matters in Nigeria. Membership comprises of Federal Director of Forestry as Chairman, States Directors as members.