Nigeria loses between 450,000 and 600,000 hectares of forest to deforestation annually to rank among the countries with the highest rate of deforestation in the world.

The National Coordinator, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, Salisu Dahiru said this in Benin, while delivering the 10th Environmental Outreach Magazine public lecture titled, ‘Managing land degradation in Nigeria; the challenges, action and remediation.’

According to Dahiru, 24 billion tons of fertile soil is lost every year globally, while 7.3 million of hectares of forest are lost yearly globally.

He identified population pressure, deforestation, bush burning, over grazing, agricultural depletion of soil nutrients through poor farming, inappropriate irrigation and indiscriminate mining as some of the causes of land degradation in Nigeria.

While saying that NEWMAP had succeeded in reclaiming some of the land lost to degradation, he noted that inconsistency in policies, inadequate budgetary allocation and unhealthy rivalry between environmental agencies were affecting management of degradation and deforestation in the country.