Consequences Of Deforestation On Rural Household Income

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Consequences Of Deforestation On Rural Household Income


This study was intended to evaluate the consequences of deforestation on rural household income. This study was guided by the following objectives; to find out the causes of deforestation in Odighi in Edo state, to examine the consequences of in rural household income, to determine the strategies of reducing deforestation.

The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design; questionnaires in addition to library research were applied in order to collect data. Primary and secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using simple percentages which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. The respondents under the study were 50 respondents including farmers, hunters and staff of agricultural and forestry department in Odighi Edo state, Abuja branch. The study majorly focuses on the consequences of deforestation on rural household income.

The study findings revealed that deforestation negatively affects rural household income in Odighi Edo state; based on the findings from the study, efforts should be made by the Nigerian government and stakeholders in promoting tree planting and preservation.

Chapter One


Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees are cut down to be used or sold as fuel (sometimes in the form of charcoal) or timber, while cleared land is used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32% of deforestation; logging is responsible for 14% of deforestation and fuel wood removals make up 5% of deforestation.

Other causes of contemporary deforestation may include corruption of government institutions, the inequitable distribution of wealth and power, population growth and overpopulation, and urbanization. Globalization is often viewed as another root cause of deforestation, though there are cases in which the impacts of globalization (new flows of labor, capital, commodities, and ideas) have promoted localized forest recovery.

Deforestation is a contributor to global warming, and is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Tropical deforestation is responsible for approximately 20% of world greenhouse gas emissions. In deforested areas, the land heats up faster and reaches a higher temperature, leading to localized upward motions that enhance the formation of clouds and ultimately produce more rainfall.

The water cycle is also affected by deforestation. Trees extract groundwater through their roots and release it into the atmosphere. When part of a forest is removed, the trees no longer transpire this water, resulting in a much drier climate. Deforestation reduces the content of water in the soil and groundwater as well as atmospheric moisture. The dry soil leads to lower water intake for the trees to extract. Deforestation reduces soil cohesion, so that erosion, flooding and landslides ensue.

1.1. Background to the Study

Forests cover almost a third of the earth’s land surface providing many environmental benefits including a major role in the hydrologic cycle, soil conservation, prevention of climate change and preservation of biodiversity (Sheram, 1993). Forest resources can provide long-term national economic benefits. For example, at least 145 countries of the world are currently involved in wood production (Anon., 1994). Sufficient evidence is available that the whole world is facing an environmental crisis on account of heavy deforestation.

For years remorseless destruction of forests has been going on and we have not been able to comprehend the dimension until recently. Nobody knows exactly how much of the world’s rainforests have already been destroyed and continue to be razed each year. Data is often imprecise and subject to differing interpretations. However, it is obvious that the area of tropical rainforest is diminishing as observed in the case of Odighi forest in Odighi Local government area of Edo State and the rate of tropical rain forest destruction is escalating worldwide, despite increased environmental activism and awareness. Deforestation is the conversion of forest to an alternative permanent non-forested land use such as agriculture, grazing or urban development (van Kooten et al, 2000).

Deforestation is primarily a concern for the developing countries of the tropics (Myers, 1994) as it is shrinking areas of the tropical forests (Barraclough et al, 2000) causing loss of biodiversity and enhancing the greenhouse effect (Angelsen et al., 1999). FAO considers a plantation of trees established primarily for timber production to be forest and therefore does not classify natural forest conversion to plantation as deforestation (but still records it as a loss of natural forests). However, FAO does not consider tree plantations that provide non-timber products to be forest although they do classify rubber plantations as forest.

Forest degradation occurs when the ecosystem functions of the forest are degraded but where the area remains forested rather cleared (Anon., 2010).

Thirty per cent of the earth’s land area or about 3.9 billion hectares is covered by forests. It was estimated that the original forest cover was approximately six billion hectares (Bryant etal., 1997). The Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China were the most forest rich countries accounting to 53 per cent of the total forest area of the globe. Another 64 countries having a combined population of two billions was reported to have forest on less than ten per cent of their total land area and unfortunately ten of these countries have no forest at all.

Among these countries 16 are such which had relatively substantial forest areas of more 1than one million hectares each and three of these countries namely Chad, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Mongolia each had more than ten million hectares of forest. The forest area remained fairly stable in North and Central America while it expanded in Europe during the past decade. Asian continent especially in India and China due to their large scale afforestation programme in the last decade registered a net gain in forest area. Conversely the South America, Africa and Oceania had registered the net annual loss of forest area (Anon., 2010).

1.2.Statement of the Problem

There is enough evidence that the whole world is facing an environmental crisis on account of heavy deforestation. For several years, there has been remorseless of destruction which must be put under control to avoid some bad consequences associated with deforestation. Nobody knows exactly how much of the world’s rainforests have already been destroyed and continue to be razed each year. Data is often imprecise and subject to differing interpretations. However, this research work will focus on the consequences of deforestation on the rural house hold income especially as observed in Odighi in Edo State.

1.3 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study is to determine the causes and consequences of deforestation in Odighi and the following objectives are stated for this research study:

  1. To find out the causes of deforestation in Odighi Edo State
  2. To find out the consequences of deforestation on rural house hold income in Odighi Edo State.
  3. To determine the strategies for reducing deforestation.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the causes of deforestation in Odighi Edo State?
  2. What are the consequences of deforestation on rural household income in Odighi Edo State
  3. What are the strategies for reducing deforestation?

1.4. Significance of the Study

The significance of this research are:

  1. To provide solutions which can assist educators, general public and the government on the causes and consequences of deforestation thereby raising an awareness about unwanted outcomes of deforestation.
  2. Findings from this research work will also ascertain the extent of deforestation in Odighi Edo State

This research work will help to improve the existing literatures on deforestation thereby contributing to the body of knowledge.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1. Summary

Forest areas with large numbers of trees, offer many benefits to people and the environment. At a global level, trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, helping to control the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and prevent global warming. And at a local level, forest areas trap cool, moist air near to the ground, thereby reducing temperatures and protecting people, crops and animals from excessive heat, and most importantly, the rural dwellers are better for it since they are mostly farmers and hunters. But despite these and other benefits, deforestation is going on unabated. This research is focused on the causes and consequences of deforestation and it proposed strategies that can reduce deforestation. Causes includes expansion of farmland, logging and fuel wood, overgrazing, urbanization and tourism while the consequences as highlighted includes flooding, climate change etc.

5.2. Recommendations

From these research findings, it can be recommended that:

  1. There should be reduction in population growth and increasing per capital income to reduce deforestation as these negatively affects the income of rural dwellers or household since most of them are farmers and hunters.
  2. Increasing the area of forest plantation by encouraging and sponsoring planting of trees
  3. Increasing investment in research, education, training and extension services on deforestation and forestry activities to reduce deforestation
  4. Proper legislation and adequate policy formulation, enforcement and compliance with forestry regulations will reduce deforestation.

5.3 Conclusion

Economic globalization combined with the looming global land scarcity increases the complexity of future pathways of land use change. In a more interconnected world, agricultural intensification may cause more rather than less cropland expansion. The apparent tradeoff between forest and agriculture can be minimized through spatial management and the use of degraded or low competition lands. This can be further addressed by community based forest management which builds on political goodwill and strong community institutions. New challenges from climate change require urgent action to explore and protect the local value of forests for livelihood even more. This is particularly true in the case of emerging activities undertaken as part of government activities where broad forest governance are aligned with it along with people’s participation ensuring livelihood benefits of the people dependent on forests. These renewed activities will safeguard traditional ways of life and the environmentally important forest ecosystems of the world. More should be done to protect the rural dwellers as most of them are agriculturally inclined and engaging in practices that promote deforestation affects them negatively as they can no longer farm and experience bountiful harvest as a result of deforestation.

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