A Comparative Analysis Of Deforestation, Environment, And Sustainable Development

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

A Comparative Analysis Of Deforestation, Environment, And Sustainable Development

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

Nigeria is naturally endowed with vast expanse of forest land, the swamp forests in the extreme Southern part of the country, the tropical rainforest in the South- western axis and the wooded savannah in the middle belt. Nigeria ranks among the countries of the world with abundant forest resources. Mfon, et al (2014) said forests in Nigeria occupied about 110, 890km2 of the country total land mass of about 910,770km2 in other words, forests is about 012.18% of vegetation cover of the country. Park (1992), has stated that at least 60 percent of all known species of plant, about 90 percent of all the world’s non-human primates such as monkeys, about 40 percent of all the birds of prey and about 80 percent of all the insects live in the tropical rainforests of the world. In other words forest provides us a wide variety of ecosystem services, including provisioning regulating, cultural, and supportive services. These ecosystem services not only deliver the basic material needs for survival, but also underlie other aspects of well being, including health, security good social relations and freedom of choice.

In the past, timber production was regarded as the dominant function of forests. However, in recent years this perception has shifted to a more multifunctional and balanced view. Today, it is understood that forest biodiversity underpins a wide ranges of goods and services for human well being. Ecologically intact forests stores and purify drinking water, they can mitigate natural disasters such as drought and floods, they help store carbon and regulate the climate, they provide food and produce rainfall, and they provide a vast array of goods for medicinal cultural and spiritual purposes (CBD, 2009). Similarly, most Nigerians have always depended on the forest for their survival, economic development, as well as environmental amelioration.

The level of community nutrition is sometimes linked to fuel wood availability and cost, others depended directly on forest for their livelihood; among them are a high number of forest and wood worker ( Aliyu et al, 2014) This is a part from contributing substantially to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In spite of its importance, the natural forest has continued to diminish rapidly in the world especially in Africa continent and particularly in Nigeria. According to EFC, (2010), the world continues to lose some 15 million hectares of forests every year. Deforestation over the period 1980 to 1990 reached 8.2% of total forest area in Asia, 6.1% in Latin America and 4.8% in African. Most modern deforestation takes place in developing countries, particularly in tropical areas. Deforestation and forest degradation directly threaten as many as 400million people including 50million forest indigenous people who depend on forest for subsistence in sub-Sahara Africa (EFC, 2010). Deforestation estimates for some.

African countries have been given by Lanly (1983). For example, the of forest depletion in Cote divoire and Nigeria is estimated as high as 5 to 6% per year while Ochanda and Epp (1982) stated that in Kenya the indigenous forest now covers only 1.9% of the land area and remote sensing have shown that about 16% of the forest is being lost in each ten year period. In Nigeria, the scenarios is not different, regional breakdown of deforestation from 1979 to 1995 shows that total forest declined by 48% in the North-central 7% in the North East, 60% in the North West, 53% in the south East, 13% in the South-South and 12% in the South West (FORMECU 1996).

In 2000 the forest cover was estimated at 13.5 million hectares compared to 17.5 million hectares in 1990 (FAO, 2001), indicating a forest cover loss of close to 400 thousand ha per annum, or a decline of about 2.6%. Forest/woodlands now stand at only 13% of the total land area (FAO, 2001). With global outcry on the consequences of continuous sustainable forest destruction topping major intellectual discourses the needs to examine the current deforestation situation in Nigeria requires a work of this nature.

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