Environment Experts say using Wood instead of Cement or Concrete to build in Africa’s urban areas will Massively contribute in giving the Continent a favourable Climate.
That is one of the Key Proposals made at one of the Sessions of the Global Landscapes Forum,GLF that was hosted virtually from the 2- 3 of June 2021 in a bid to Chat ways of Restoring Africa’s Dry Lands.
The Session dubbed The Wood Solution: The key to driving large- scale forest restoration had a several experts from across the Globe in the Panel with one of them Lars Laestadius ,research scholar at Eco-Innovation Foundation proposing that wood is the best option for constructing houses in Africa’s Rapidly growing cities.
“Africa is growing fast .We have the same population like China now but by 2050 we will have twice the population of China(about 1.2 billion people) This is largely because African cities that doubled in 25 years, that is from 1990- 2015 ,will continue to grow” Lars Stated.
Lars who has over 40 years of professional experience in the forest sector adds that
“About 800 million of urbanites alone are expected in Africa in the next 30 years. Its a challenge and they need to live somewhere not in Slums but According to the UN ,people who will live in Slums in Africa can only grow”
And the rising urban populace needs a decent place to lay their head and so houses will have to spring up fast and Lars believes Africa does not have to break the Climate rules to do so.
“According to the 2016 United Nations Paris climate Agreement, cement is not good for the Climate. So Africa cannot build with Cement because they will be breaking the Paris Agreement” He says.
So for Lars, the solution to this construction problem must be wood or What he terms wood 2.0.
“There is a restoration sector that needs an additional driver and on the other hand an urban development sector that needs an additional material because cement cannot do the job. So the way forward or something that can bring these 2 sectors together is what we Call the wood 2.0. The Mass timber building technology is now in fashion in Sweden as buildings constructed with wood have moved from 10 % to 20%. There is no reason why Africa can’t use this method “ He insists
And while it takes about 80 years for a Swedish forest to grow
“A normal forest in Africa will take 40 to 50 years to grow to maturity which brings more wood opportunities “ Aaron Kaplan, another panellist and one of the founders of Eco- Solution foundation Stated.
While other speakers touched on sustainable forest management and Bio hub entrepreneurship (business that has been created from biological materials and products- in this case wood), Amen Hulström of Sozo Consulting in Addis Ababa ,Ethiopia crowned panel discussions with Entrepreneurship, The untapped potential where she said
“ wood related Businesses benefit the land and the environment”
“It is not easy to be an entrepreneur in the Forest value chain but there are Willing and talented people in Africa who sometimes need a push financial wise”.
Henry Tataw Ekambi