1.1 BACKGROUND OF
Today forest occupy approximately one –third of
earth land area, account for two – third of
the leaf area of plants on land and contain 70 percent of carbon present
in living things .Thus, the food and agricultural organization (FAO) of the
united nations estimates that in 2000, 38.7 million square kilometer of land on
earth is forested. Forest is essential to all human life because people who
live within the forest zone depend on them for survival in many ways. These include
food, medicine, fuel wood, shelter, clothing, timber, construction materials
e.t.c. The forest also clean the air, water, ameliorate the climate, check
water and wind erosion (Azeke, 2003). Forest contains roughly 90 percent of the
world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
However, forest is a major
causality of civilization as human population have increased over the past several thousand years (with the world population
today estimated to number 7.001 billion by united state census Bureau) bringing
deforestation, pollution and industrial usages problems to this important
biome (forest).The contributions of forests to human well-being can only be
sustained if the forests are themselves sustained.(Food and Agricultural
Organization, FAO 1994).But Nigeria has lost most of her natural forest cover which is a serious
problem, with forest loss occurring at a
rate of 3.5 percent per year, which translate to a loss of 350,000 to 400,000
hectares per year (Adedoyin 2001, Aruofor 2000).Since 1990, the country has
lost over 6 million ha or 36 percent of its forests cover. Nigeria has been
losing an average 11 percent of its primary forest each year. This figure gives
Nigeria the highest deforestation rate of natural forest in the world.
Deforestation is the removal of
forest stand where the land is put to a non – forests use (SAFnet Dictionary).
Deforestation results from subsistence farming, commercial farming, road
construction projects, logging, mining and dam construction. However, Hazel and
Lutz (1998) attributed resources degradation in extensive rain fed farming
(characteristic of tropical forest environment) areas to poverty and population
growth. Scherr and Hazell (1994) also identified conversion of primary forest
to agriculture, with attendant loss of biodiversity, climate change and expose
of fragile soil as part of environmental problems emanating from rain fed
farming (which cause deforestation).Deforestation could be caused by
plantations and commodities and settlements.
The removal of tress without
sufficient reforestation has resulted in climate change, damage to habitat,
biodiversity loss and aridity. The carbon lost from the destruction of forest is exacerbated (increase) by gas
flaring .Associated to deforestation are air pollution, ozone depletion, land
degradation and constantly declining
soil fertility and above all
declining quality of life (Ewuola & Yomi –Alfred,2000).
According, Food and Agricultural
Organization (FAO, 2000) observed threats posed by economic constraints to
sustainable forest management in sub – Sahara Africa as overwhelming. Forest
have been held in reverence in folklore and worshipped in ancient religion. Crews
(2003) submitted that tress and forest were impacting peoples way of lives and
are cultures, languages, mythologies and folklores of peoples living within and
around the forest. These belief, attitude and behavior of local people
influenced their ways of live and assisted a great deal in conservation of
forest reserve. Therefore traditional beliefs influence people value, behavior
and perception towards the forest and so help conserve the forest. Among the
Benin people of Edo state, many big markets started under Iroko trees.
Milicia Excelsa (Iroko) and Bombax Spp are be lived to be abode of spirits, village gods or
ancient gods and tales of ten revolve around the tress that are frequently left
around the villages. Plants such as Iroko, Bombax Spp, Newbouldia leaves, Kola
acuminate, Garcina Kola and so on where preserved. Animals such as crocodile, vulture, tortoise,
leopard were also equally protected through traditional belief.
In addition sacred groves harbor
several medicinal plants, which are of great value in primary health care
delivery. Most of Nigeria population still live in rural area which are modern
health care, these plants and animals are relied upon, Advance in science and
an upsurge of evangelism in Christian and Muslim faiths have greatly reduced
the influences of scared groves as method of conservation. Cultural norms and
taboos are violated with little of no penalty and sacred groves are
The Government of today is
concerned about deforestation and environmental degradation, which is estimated
to cost the country over $6 billion in a year. It has failed to put in place
effective measures to curb illegal logging and only 6 percent of the land area
is protected. Previous Government have tried to prevent further loss through a
ban on log exports, promoting agro forestry and community based conservation
scheme and encouraging plantation and reforestation programs. The success was
being limited. Thus Kio (2002) suggested radical change in forest policy
towards mobilizing the rural population in the interest of sustainable
Other ways in which to protect
and conserve the forest is to create awareness through Environmental Education of
the indigenous people and the general public. Also by tracking down illegal
logging and bush burning.
The paramount concern of this
research is on the incidence of deforestation in Odighi Community in Ovia North
East Local Government Area, Benin City, Edo State. The community is along Benin
– Akure road. The people in the community main occupation are farming and the
population is estimated to be above 2,000 people, which regarded as one of the
most populated area or community around the axes. The soil here is very fertile
which is suitable for growing vast
variety of crops like cassava, yam, plantain, vegetable, maize and also forest
The forest reserve compartment
located in Odighi is surrounded by other neighboring villages namely Igbekhue,
Oke, Odiguetue. The landmass of the forest reserve is estimated to be 215 ha. About
twenty five years ago the compartment used to be highly forested area with a
high biodiversity of species including tress and animals but due to the
deforestation, the compartments are now a shadow of its old self with the area
totally turned to grassland (bare land). The trend is continued through the
presence of cattle searchers in the community who continuously set the residue
forest ablaze due to reasons yet unknown.
The study tends to investigate
the incidence of deforestation, its rate of occurrence and extent to which it
has affected the environment and suggest possible measures in controlling
future deforestation in the forest compartment in Odighi community.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Deforestation is a serious
problem in Nigeria as the forest in Nigeria plays an important role in
providing economic, social and ecological benefits as well as provides forest
products and services for the people. The forest compartment used to be a vast
forested land, what could have been possible causes of loss of forest trees and
at what rate does the loss occurs.
Could it be due to population
growth leading to expansion of settlements? Could it be due to subsistence
farming by rural or indigenous farmers? Could it be as a result of illegal
logger? Or could it be caused by a combination of two or more factors and what
are the environmental impacts of the process of deforestation in the area.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
1. Is there any occurrence of deforestation in
Odighi Community in Ovia North- East Local Government Area of Edo State?
2. How often does deforestation occur in Odighi Community?
3. What are the possible factors responsible for deforestation in the forest reserve in Odighi Community?
How knowledgeable are the people of
Odighi Community on the environmental
impact of deforestation?
What are the possible measures put in
place to solve the problem of
deforestation in the forest compartment
in Odighi Community?
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The study is
aimed at investigating the deforestation rate in the forest compartment and
factors which causes the deforestation in the particular area.
OF THE STUDY
The study of the Effects
of deforestation among the people living in ODIGHI COMMUNITY ovia north east
Edo state is to determine the extent to which deforestation occur or has
occurred in the environment and how its
occurrences does not only affect the people in the community but also the
general public at large .The study will stimulate other researchers to carryout
more study on deforestation.
DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study will be
conducted among the indigenes of Odighi Community in Ovia North – East Local
Government Area, Edo State.
OF THE STUDY
This study adopts a
survey research design using data that already exist to draw conclusion and
infer. To this end, the extent of generalization of finding from this study is