3 April 2013

Liberia: Scientists Predict Climate Change

Scientists from the United States of America under the banner 'USDA Forest Service' have predicted that climate change would have negative impact on Liberia.

They said Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa and Bong counties will be affected by the climate change.

Presenting an assessment report at a one-day seminar Tuesday, Mr. John Stanturf said climate change would negatively affect the remaining reserve forests in western Liberia.

He observed that rice production would greatly be affected by climate change as a result of high temperatures, adding "upland rice will be impacted by changes in seasonality of precipitation."

He said the effects of climate change on agricultural production are most likely in Bong and Lofa counties.

The U.S. Scientists said even without direct exploitation for timber extraction, other development plans place the remaining biodiversity rich forests at risk.

Concerning the fishery sector, the report said climate change impact will occur through a variety of direct and indirect pathways whose importance will vary depending on the type of ecosystem and fishery.

The US scientists said climate change projections also indicate that sea surface temperatures will increase in Liberian waters with potentially negative implications for the dynamic and critical link between timing and intensity of the coastal upwelling and fishery productivity.

The report observed that Liberia's coastal ecosystems are at risk from sea level rise with projected increases over the next century from less than one meter to over two meter.

According to the report, in addition to the general rise in sea level, storm surge will impact most urban areas of Liberia.

The US scientists also said Liberia might experience hotter night which will have more impact on the agricultural sector.

For his part, the Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Stephen Neufville said climate change is a major challenge to Liberia's economic development.

He said it is important for more support to be given to EPA in order to prepare and fight climate change.

Representative Adolph Lawrence, who spoke at the seminar, said Liberia is vulnerable to climate change because the economy of Liberia is depended on the agricultural sector.

He said the increase in temperature and rainfall will greatly affect the country's agricultural sector; therefore, the necessary frameworks need to be put into place to curtail the problem.

He pledged the legislature commitment to allot the needed resources to the EPA in its quest to tackle climate change.

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