FORESTS AND ITS SERVICE TO NIGERIA AND NIGERIANS

Forest is a plant community, predominantly of trees or other woody vegetation, occupying an extensive area of land. In its natural state, a forest remains in a relatively fixed, self – regulated condition over a long period of time.

In Nigeria, we have two predominant classes of forest, which is the Tropical Savannas of the Northern Nigeria, which are dominated by grasses and sedges, with open stands of widely spaced trees that are frequently thorny; and we have the Tropical rain forests which are characteristics of the Southern Nigeria, plant growth is quite profuse here, and because the metamorphosis of leaves occur gradually throughout each year, the forest is always active.

Forests cover only about 12% in 2005 of the country’s total land area, but has shrank into 9.9% in 2010. Deforestation, which is the illegal cutting down of trees has become a major problem, made worse by massive rural-urban migration, and construction works. Other environmental threats include settlement within forest reserved areas, bushfires, increasing demand for fuelwood and timber, road expansion and oil extraction activities.

Perhaps, it should be known that the livelihoods of 80% of the Nigerian population depends on forests, and it provides home to more than 15% people in Nigeria, and even serve as a home to 60% of terrestrial biodiversity.We are quite sure that Nigeria has a wonderful share of the $379 billion total global trade in forest products in 2005.Forests, at large helps in the cycle of carbon usage by which energy flows through Earth’s ecosystem

Nigeria has an organized system of nature preserves, game reserves, and national parks in addition to a forest management system, but most management is carried on at the state level where cases of malpractices and mismanagement of funds are gross, especially with the introduction of ecological funds .Law enforcement and protected system infrastructure are lacking, and abuses of protected land are common. The country also participates in the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Several Nigerian groups have campaigned actively, but with little success, to compel the government and major oil companies to introduce environmental safeguards. In 1988 the government created the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) to address problems of desertification, oil pollution, and land degradation, but the FEPA has had only a minor impact

Forest is a plant community, predominantly of trees or other woody vegetation, occupyin an extensive area of land. In its natural state, a forest remains in a relatively fixed, self – regulated codition over a long period of time.

In Nigeria, we have two predominant classes of forest, which is the Tropical Savannas of the Northern Nigeria, which are dominated by grasses and sedges, with open stands of widely spaced trees that are frequently thorny; and we have the Tropical rain forests which are characteristics of the Southern Nigeria, plant growth is quite profuse here, and because the metamorphosis of leaves occur gradually throughout each year, the forest is always active.

Forests cover only about 12% in 2005 of the country’s total land area, but has shrank into 9.9% in 2010. Deforestation, which is the illegal cutting down of trees has become a major problem, made worse by massive rural-urban migration, and construction works. Other environmental threats include settlement within forest reserved areas, bushfires, increasing demand for fuelwood and timber, road expansion and oil extraction activities.

Perhaps, it should be known that the livelihoods of 80% of the Nigerian population depends on forests, and it provides home to more than 15% people in Nigeria, and even serve as a home to 60% of terrestrial biodiversity.We are quite sure that Nigeria has a wonderful share of the $379 billion total global trade in forest products in 2005.Forests, at large helps in the cycle of carbon usage by which energy flows through Earth’s ecosystem

Nigeria has an organized system of nature preserves, game reserves, and national parks in addition to a forest management system, but most management is carried on at the state level where cases of malpractices and mismanagement of funds are gross, especially with the introduction of ecological funds .Law enforcement and protected system infrastructure are lacking, and abuses of protected land are common. The country also participates in the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Several Nigerian groups have campaigned actively, but with little success, to compel the government and major oil companies to introduce environmental safeguards. In 1988 the government created the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) to address problems of desertification, oil pollution, and land degradation, but the FEPA has had only a minor impact.

With the inception of the internet and youth organizations, the future looks brighter than what it has used to be; we have organizations, volunteers, climate change advocators and social entrepreneurs, now collaborating to make the environment sustainable, we only hope that all levels of government in Nigeria will join hands with this new formations to at least kickstart a new path to a sustainable environment.

Author: Oludotun Babayemi

I work on for profit or not - for - profit projects as a Project Planner, Grant Writer and Information Manager.11 years ago, I started Cloneshouse Nigeria, 10 years ago, I started Follow The Money, with a Colleague in 2012, a citizen-led movement that promotes social accountability in rural communities, which a year after, got registered legally as Connected Development [CODE]. In the past 7 years, I have evaluated projects on Water, Power, Education, Health, Disaster Risk in Nigeria, and West Africa countries with the United Nations and the Japan International Corporation Agency. Education and Fellowships include Stanford University, USA; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; School of Data, Open Knowledge International, UK; USAID - Crisismappers. I Tweet @dotunbabayemi and am an email away at oludotunbabayemi@gmail.com

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