NAIROBI, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- More than 800 policymakers, scientists and green advocates will meet in Nairobi later this month to explore innovative ways to restore Africa's degraded landscapes, organizers said on Wednesday.
The two-day forum organized by Centre for Forestry Research (CIFOR) in conjunction with the UN Environment and the World Bank, seeks to galvanize attention to the plight of Africa's landscapes and forests grappling with human and climate induced threats.
"Africa's landscapes must be restored to ensure the natural resource needs of the continent's rapidly expanding population will one day be met, but there is no silver bullet," said Robert Nasi, the director general of CIFOR.
An estimated 50 million hectares of land is degraded annually across Sub-Saharan Africa due to a complex inter-play of weak governance, rapid population growth, climate change and urbanization.
Nasi said the Aug.29 to 30 forum will discuss cost effective interventions that can hasten restoration of Africa's degraded landscapes to boost food security, reduce poverty and resources based conflicts.
Organizers said experience and knowledge sharing at the forum will revitalize action on land and forests depletion that has escalated in Africa in recent times.
Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UN Environment, said there is an urgency to promote restoration of African forests and landscapes given the continent's growing demand for food to feed a soaring population.
"Africa's population growth prospects are one key aspect of the challenge. Another is that many parts of the world will be looking to Africa for food production," said Solheim.
"The key challenge is therefore how do you provide for job creation and increased food production, and protect the environment? The answer is proper land-use planning," he added.
The World Resources Institute reckon that two thirds of Africa's land mass is degraded while 2.8 million hectares of the continent's forests have been cleared to pave way for farming or human settlement.
However, local communities have so far managed to restore over 5 million hectares of degraded landscapes in Africa while more than 20 nations have pledged to restore 100 million hectares of forest cover by 2030 through the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative.