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Prospects of Restoring Indigenous Trees for Addressing Urban and Rural Climate Crisis in the Drylands of Nigeria

Dr. Aliyu Salisu Barau (Bayero University Kano, Nigeria)



In 2021, Nigeria has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by cutting to half its emissions level by year 2050 using nature-based solutions as a frontline strategy. The resilience of indigenous trees to droughts and flooding and also their high values for nutritional security and economic potentials make them a perfect choice for tackling climate change in the northern dryland areas of Nigeria. This presentation reports on the potentials of indigenous tree restoration based on three short films for  which this paper presenter is part of the scriptwriters and executive producers. The three short films targeted an audience of over 50 million in Nigeria and beyond with purpose of public education and enlightenment on pro-climate restoration. The issues presented are based on ongoing UK PACT funded research – Green Recovery Challenge Fund – that brings together researchers from Bayero University Kano, Leeds University and York University from Nigeria and UK respectively. The goal of the research is to change the business as usual model by promoting irrigation free indigenous tree restoration. The aim is to save resources, time, capital and labour intensive afforestation projects that rarely yield appreciable long term results. Irrigation free tree restoration targets growing trees already removed and whose stumps still exist in farmlands. Irrigation free restoration does not involve watering of tree stumps as they have established root stocks forages which need only care and concern of people to regrow and to reestablish ecosystems and to address climate challenges. The three films take us through the co-benefits of indigenous restoration and link that with the process and impacts of climate change on the people and environment of dryland areas of northern Nigeria. The presentation will speak through the situations reported by the people in the context of the need for restoration as the best strategy to deal with climate change vulnerability in Africa. Importantly, the presentation will shed light on the need to engage people through enhancing their knowledge, behavior and skills on climate change.



Dr Aliyu Barau obtained Bachelors, and Master’s degrees in Geography and subsequently PhD in Environmental Planning. Since 2018, he has been an Associate Professor in Urban and Regional Planning at Bayero University Kano. He is passionate about transdisciplinary research and has been working on bridging knowledge barriers through his research works which cut across sustainability science, science advice and environmental advocacy, clean energy, urban informality, environmental history, spatial planning, transitions and transformation research, urban resilience, climate change adaptation and mitigation, decarbonization, protected ecosystems, and governance of socio- ecological systems. His passion for knowledge ideation, distillation and production has made it possible for him to work with influential international institutions such as: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), International Resource Panel of the UN Environment, Association of Commonwealth Universities, UN Habitat and Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. In 2020, the Urban Climate Change Research Network of the Columbia University New York appointed him as its Director for West Africa hub. Dr. Barau serves as Principal Investigator and co-Investigator for various competitive international research grants that worth tens of thousands of US dollars. He has published papers in many reputable journals including Nature (the world’s no.1 science journal). He is also in the editorial team of the Third Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3.3) 2021-2023 to be published by Cambridge University Press. Dr Barau has presented his works at Cambridge University, Stanford University, King Saud University, United Nations University (Bonn and Tokyo), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gothenburg University (Sweden), Oslo and Akerhus University (Norway), Goethe University - Frankfurt, Germany, University of Zurich, Switzerland, Saudi Institute of Public Administration, Riyadh, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing among others. Barau has travelled to all continents on the planet and has co-authors in every continent. In both Google Scholar and ResearchGate H-index and citation metrics Barau ranks among the top 5 at Bayero University Kano. Aliyu is married with three children. He likes indigenous trees, birds’ songs, desert music, and documentary films. In the course of sustainability scholarship Aliyu is privileged to meet with leaders with passion for environment and these include Emperor Naruhito of Japan, Charles, the Prince of Wales, late Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, the Saudi Crown Prince, and Elinor Ostrom, the 2009 Nobel Prize Winner among others.


July 06, 2022



Registration: wHs173