MATRIC NO: 991262
A PRE-DATA SEMINAR PAPER
THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION AND RURAL SOCIOLOGY COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES,
OLABISI ONABANJO UNIVERSITY,
YEWA CAMPUS, AYETORO, OGUN STATE, NIGERIA
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT OF THE AWARD OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION AND RURAL SOCIOLOGY
The 1901 forest proclamation in Nigeria that stipulated that a tree must be planted in place of any tree removed was an attempt by the authorities of the time to regulate log exploitation and introduce forest resources management. By and large the necessity to control logging activities to prevent untimely timber deficits became imperative that a forest ordinance to establish forest reserves was put in place in 1908. By 1930, about 97,000 ha of forest reserves had been established and by 1970 forest reserves had increased to 9,342,000 ha. At present the total area of forest reserves in Nigeria is about 10,762,702 ha (Omoluabi et al., 1991). In the first half of the last century, Nigeria experienced a rapid expansion of logging activities with large forest concessions granted. During this period, forest management activities consisted largely of concession inspection accompanied by collection of fees and establishment of forest plantations on an experimental basis. However, much effort went into identifying the means of enhancing growth and regeneration of economic species through a system known as Tropical Shelter wood System (TSS) which entailed cutting the climbers and poisoning of the competing undesirable species. This was meant to have at least 25 merchantable trees per ha at harvesting. The system, which was practiced along with enrichment planting, where appropriate, was found faulty and therefore abandoned because it gave room for rapid climber re-growth after the canopy had been opened. During the last five decades, pressure on forest resources continued to increase, primarily as a result of rapid population growth, unclear tenure systems, reliance on forest resources for rural economy and rural livelihood, and subsistence farming. Essentially, forest resources in Nigeria continue to dwindle due to clearing for extensive agriculture and shifting cultivation, extensive commercial logging and fuel wood gathering to meet the household energy requirements. All these human activities have remarkably affected Nigeria's primary forests in terms of structure, land area and landforms. Thus, the current vegetation cover which some scientists, hitherto, believed to be of three major types - tropical rainforest, tropical deciduous forest and tropical dry woodland - can be broadly delineated into mangrove and freshwater swamp forest, lowland rain forest, derived savanna forest and pure savanna (Guinea, Sudan and Sahel). As a result of the human activities identified above and, perhaps, the cumulative effects of natural phenomena, almost all the forests have been disturbed and thus reduced to secondary forests. Some of these secondary forests may look mature to an ordinary eye and considered as primary forests. Only about 130,446 ha of the forests can be regarded as primary forests in Nigeria (Odu and Dun, 1999; Karim, 1999). They have not been disturbed because of the difficulty to access them owing to poor terrain. The taungya system became a system of choice as it was seen to be a more effective form of protection. Mono-cultural direct planting on clear-felled land of heavily degraded post extraction forest is now common. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Nigerian government in association with the Colonial Government and timber extraction processors registered several Forest Reserves with the aim of managing the forest to sustain a supply of wood in...