The Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria was awarded the Sultan Quaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation 2011, administered through UNESCO, at the World Science Forum in Budapest this week (17-20 November).
The award recognises contribution to the preservation of the environment, especially though scientific research, education, training and awareness-raising; as well as through establishing and managing protected nature areas.
The prize jury recommended the institute for its contributions to forest and environmental management, biodiversity conservation, sustainable food production for food security and provision of industrial raw materials and employment opportunities.
The institute, headquartered in Ibadan, is the only forestry research institute in the country. It has ten stations and four training colleges.
Through its research it has helped with the adoption of various indigenous and exotic tree species for planting them, for a variety of purposes, throughout the country, and it has helped discover how to regenerate exploited forests. Its research also helped develop processes for turning wood waste into useful products; jatropha seeds for biofuels; and technologies against desertification and soil erosion.
Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, who awarded the prize, said that “our relationship with forests is essential and primordial”. She reminded the participants of the forum that the UN designated 2011 ‘year of the forests’.
Madhia Ahmed Al-Shaibani, Minister of Education of Oman and Chair of the Omani National Commission for Education, Culture and Science said: “We hope that the international experience and scientific knowledge attracted by this award contribute to providing an understanding of the environmental risks associated with development and to the adoption of successful practices to reduce the environmental challenges facing our world today, including those emanating from climatic changes.”
The prize is given at major scientific meetings every two years to individuals or institutes. Previous winners included the Ecology Institute A.C. of Mexico, the Center for Ecology in Venezuela, and the Institute of Biodiversity Conservation in Ethiopia.
Mićo Tatalović, deputy news editor, SciDev.Net