Forest loss in different ecological zones of the Niger Delta, Nigeria: evidence from remote sensing

Ayanlade, Ayansina; Drake, Nicolas
October 2016
GeoJournal;Oct2016, Vol. 81 Issue 5, p717
Academic Journal
Despite the importance of the forest resources in tropical regions, forest continues to rapidly decrease due to demand from an ever increasing population. This study uses remote sensing to examine forest loss in the different forest types found in the Niger Delta of Nigeria from 1984 to 2011. The results show that the over utilization of forest resource in the past three decades has resulted in its degradation, particularly within protected areas in the Delta. However, the patterns and intensity of forest loss vary according to the type of forest. The majority of the forest reserves in lowland rainforests have lost over 40 % of their area, freshwater swamp forest reserves have lost about 30 %, whilst the reserves in mangrove forests have lost just 11 %. Deforestation is high in the lowland rainforest because the land is good for agriculture, but lower in freshwater swamp and mangrove forest because the land is covered in swamps and subjected to seasonal flooding, both of which limit accessibility. Drivers of forest loss in the region are complex, including illegal selective logging from both commercial loggers, due to high timber demand in cities and communal logging of firewood by local people used for domestic cooking.


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