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1.1 Background to the Study
Deforestation is the conversion of forest to an alternative permanent non-forested land use such as agriculture, grazing or urban development (Van & Bulte, 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 & Ghimire, 2000) causing loss of biodiversity and enhancing the greenhouse effect (Angelsen, Shitindi, & Aaarrestad, 2008). 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 & Mellor, 2016).
Over the years, sustainable management of forest resources has been of primary concern due to its potential impact on biological diversity and importance in maintaining global ecological functions (Areola, 2013). In spite of its importance, the natural tropical high forest has continued to diminish rapidly in the African continent, especially in Nigeria, thus dwindling sustainable forest management. Nigeria could face the possibility of timber and fuel wood scarcity towards the end of the century. It has been predicted that within the next fifty years, unless adequate measures are taken, most humid tropical forestland area in Africa could be transformed into unproductive land and the deterioration of the savannah into desert will be accelerated (Hunter, Horritt, Bates,Wilson, Werner, 2017)).
Global challenge of deforestation, tropical deforestation has gained greater impetus in policy and research. Mahapatra and Kant (2015) state that since the early 1980s, policy makers have responded to tropical deforestation with various bilateral and multi-lateral initiatives such as Tropical Forestry Action Plan, International Tropical Timber Organization and Forest Principles. They also indicated that there is increasing research on various dimensions of tropical deforestation by many scientists.
Though a recognized problem, it is important to highlight that the rate and extent of deforestation has however varied across continental, national, regional and local boundaries (FAO, 2005). For instance, Brazil and Indonesia, which had the highest net loss of forests in the 1990s, have significantly reduced their rate of loss in the 2000s while at the same time Australia experienced exacerbated forest loss due to internal factors such as; severe drought and forest fires (FAO, 2010). It has been observed that tropical deforestation in Africa has been overwhelming in the last two decades. Between 1990 and 2000, the continent lost about 52 million ha of forest, which accounts for 56 percent of the global reduction in forest cover (FAO, 2005). It is stated for that period, the continent experienced an average forest cover loss of 0.8 per cent which was higher than the world average of 0.2 per cent (FAO 2005).
In Nigeria, environmental problems that are termed degradation collectively, such as desert encroachment, erosion, flooding and drought etc all have a strong link with deforestation. In Kaduna state for instance, escalated soil erosion, flooding, increase in aridity, all of which have strong relationship with deforestation, have affected a significant proportion of the state. Academia, scholars and researchers are of the opinion that deforestation risk reduction is a systematic approach of identifying, addressing, and reducing the risks of disaster to a community (Dong, Wang, Chen, & Yin, 2015). Generally, deforestation is caused by a variety of factors. However, (Ajibade, 2014; Wards, 2017) viewed deforestation as clearing of any area of its natural vegetation cover which is normally lead to decrease in plants population resulting in loss of plant biodiversity Nonetheless, excessive deforestation over a long period has been the cause of many drought like features (Ali 2014; Adebayo 2010). Deforestation presents multiple environmental problems in our society today.
The present and long term effects of human activities such as logging, bush burning and land clearance for construction are factors that contribute to deforestation which are almost certain to jeopardize our lives on earth. As a result of the exploding population the rate of deforestation in Sanga L.G.A is becoming quite alarming, fertile agricultural land is gradually being taken over by unfertile land due to increase in aridity caused by deforestation thereby resulting in the decline of the productivity of the land. Strong hazardous wind that destroy and damage building roofs and growing plants, which for long had been occasional, is gradually becoming a yearly phenomenon. Also, the problem of flooding which cannot be said to be a new problem has taken on a more dominating dimension due to the growth of urban population and the rapid increase in agricultural practices (Ali 2014).
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Deforestation in Sanga L.G.A is really an ongoing phenomenon. In the recent years, so much have been said about the impacts of deforestation in study area, as reported by Eboh, Oji, Achike, Ujah, Amakom, Oduh, Nzeh, &Larsen, 2017). This is becoming more pronounced with increasing population of the study area which according to NPC 2019 projected population, stood at 204,500. The effects of such depletion have led to a decline in forest cover, forest degradation, impoverishment of the soil and general deterioration in environmental conditions. For example, deforestation has often led to frequent occurrence of erosion, flooding and siltation of water bodies in some part of the study area (Eckhom, 2014).
One critical aspect of the knowledge gap is the shortage of reliable economic values of deforestation in Kaduna especially in Sanga L.G.A. Because of this shortage, policymakers often do not have credible evidence bases to promote sound forest management. While literature is replete with information about the consequences of deforestation, past studies did not produce quantitative estimates about the economic losses from deforestation (Eckhom, 2014).
Deforestation presents multiple environmental problems in our Sanga L.G.A today. The present and long term effects of human activities such as logging, bush burning and land clearance for agricultural purposes are factors that contribute to deforestation which are almost certain to jeopardize our lives on earth. As a result of the exploding population and agricultural activities, the rate of deforestation in Sanga L.G.A is becoming quite alarming, fertile agricultural land is gradually being taken over by unfertile land due to increase in aridity caused by deforestation thereby resulting in the decline of the productivity of the land. Strong hazardous wind that destroy and damage building roofs and growing plants, which for long had been occasional, is gradually becoming a yearly phenomenon. Also, the problem of flooding which cannot be said to be a new problem has taken on a more dominating dimension due to the growth of population and the rapid increase in agricultural practices (Eckhom, 2014).
To find out the implications of deforestation on the environment, there is need to carry out this study. This will enable forestry policy makers, other stakeholders and even farmers in the study area to be better informed about the implication of deforestation on the environment and seek innovative means and ways to combat deforestation.
1.3 Statement of Research Question
The need to address these problems prompts the following questions;
1. What are the causes of deforestation in Sanga Local Government Area?
2. What are the problems created by deforestation in Sanga Local Government Area?
3. What is the attitude of people of Sanga Local Government Area towards the existing forest?
4. What are the efforts made by the government to reduce the problems of deforestation in the study area?
1.4 Aim and Objectives
The aim of this research is to examine the implication of deforestation on the environment in Sanga Local Government Area, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
The speciﬁc objectives of this research are to:
5. Identify the causes of deforestation in Sanga Local Government Area.
6. Identify the problems created by deforestation in Sanga Local Government Area.
7. Assess the attitude of people of Sanga Local Government Area towards the existing forest.
8. Assess the efforts made by the government to reduce the problems of deforestation in the study area.
1.7 Scope of Study
The study is set out to determine the implication of deforestation on the environment in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Therefore, the study is restricted to both men and women in the Local Government Area of Study. The local government is comprised of many clustered and scattered settlements with an estimated population of approximately 204,500 inhabitants based on projection population of 2019 from (National Population Census, 2006). The scope of this study surrounds the areas prone deforestation in Sanga L.G.A settlements of Kaduna State.
1.8 Significance of the Study
The fact that our forest is one of the beauties of nature and an effect means of controlling erosion, man has in either consciously or unconsciously and indiscriminately too. If no efforts are made to guard this, the younger generation may find it very difficult to know what a natural forest look like. They may also be denied of good forest produce for their economic needs and uses. Hence the effort being made by the government in preserving and consolidating the forest in form forest resources is highly impressive.
The study is of importance in that it will enlighten the leaders and the public of our obligation of the forest. To point out the importance of forest to guide against erosion. It will also aid government and forestry officials on how to protect our forest.
The study is of immense importance to the people of Sanga Local Government Area in the sense that to clearly preserve the forest and also on how to plant trees to check erosion.
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