VEGETATION OF NIGERIA

The vegetation in Nigeria can be grouped into three major zones. These are:

  1. The forest Zone or Vegetation: This forest zone or vegetation contains mainly trees and has the following forest belts.
  • Mangrove swamp forest (salt and fresh water swamp).
  • Rain forest.
  1. Savanna Zone or Vegetation: The savanna zone is made up of mainly grasses and is further sub-divided into three savanna belts, which are:
  • Guinea Savanna.
  • Sudan Savanna.
  • Sahel Savanna.
  1. Montane Vegetation: This is found in highland areas like Jos and Adamawa with trees and grasses.

 

  • MANGROVE SWAMP FOREST

Location: This vegetation is found mainly in delta and coastal areas like Port Harcourt, Warri, Uyo and Calabar.

Characteristics

  1. It has tall, woody trees (white and red mangrove).
  2. It has aerial roots.
  3. It has evergreen trees with broad leaves.
  4. Trees found include white mangrove, red mangrove and some raffia palms.

Importance

  1. Raffia palm is used for making baskets, bags, brooms, cane chairs and the production of palm wine.
  2. Mangrove trees are used for boat building and firewood.
  3. Farming activities such as swamp rice cultivation are embarked.

 

  • RAIN FOREST

Location: It is found in Southern part of Nigeria in Benin, Sapele, Akure, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Aba, etc.

Characteristics

  1. It has tall trees with buttress roots evergreen and broad leaves.
  2. Trees exist in different heights, storeys or layers i.e. bottom, middle and upper layers.
  3. Presence of little undergrowth due to canopy of the forest.
  4. Presence of climbers, creepers, epiphytes and parasitic plants.
  5. It has numerous heterogeneous species of trees like Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany, African walnut, etc.
  6. Plants species are not in pure stand i.e. trees are scattered.

Importance

  1. Presence of tropical hardwood like Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany, etc. timber for construction.
  2. Lumbering of these trees provides employment.
  3. Farming activities, especially the cultivation of tree crops in plantation e.g. rubber, cocoa, oil palm, etc.
  4. Forest provides wood as source of fuel.

 

  • GUINEA SAVANNA

Location: This Savanna is found in Enugu, Lokoja, Ilorin, Makurdi, Oshogbo, etc.

Characteristics

  1. It is the largest of all the vegetation belts in Nigeria.
  2. Presence of tall grasses.
  3. Presence of tall trees with broad leaves.
  4. The tree are scattered and deciduous i.e. they shed their leaves during dry season.
  5. Important trees include locust bean trees, shea-butter and isobelina.

 

  • SUDAN SAVANNA

Location: This vegetation belt is found in Sokoto, Kastina, Kaduna, Kano, Dutse, Bauchi, etc.

Characteristics

  1. It has short numerous grasses.
  2. Presence of scattered and short deciduous trees.
  3. Plant species include acacia, date palm, silk cotton plants, baobab.
  4. Some trees have thorns while others have thick barks.
  5. Some trees wither in dry season and sprout at the beginning of rainy season.

 

  • SAHEL SAVANNA

Location: This Savanna is found in Maiduguri and Damaturu.

Characteristics

  1. It has short scanty grasses.
  2. Presence of short and tough shrubs/trees.
  3. Grasses are fewer, poorer and in patches.
  4. It has many drought resistant and scattered plants.
  5. Popular plants include acacia, gum Arabic, date palm, baobab, etc.

 

  • MONTANE VEGETATION

Location: This vegetation is found in Jos and Adamawa area.

Characteristics

  1. It is associated with highland areas.
  2. It has varied trees at its windward side.
  3. It has grasses at its leeward side.
  4. Presence of short, scattered and deciduous trees.

Importance

  1. Livestock production especially transhumance is common.
  2. Cultivation of crops takes place.

 

IMPORTANCE OF FOREST VEGETATION TO THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF NIGERIA.

  1. The forest vegetation provides both food and cash crops like yam, cassava, oil palm, rubber, cocoa, etc.
  2. Forest provides economic trees (timber) like Iroko, Obeche, etc. for construction purposes.
  3. Timber and cash crops exported to other countries do generate foreign exchange for the nation.
  4. Forest also provides jobs for hunters, lumbermen, forest guards, etc.
  5. Iroko, beche, Cocoa, Rubber, etc. are raw materials for industries.
  6. Wood from the forest is used for making fire for cooking.
  7. Forests are centres of tourism and at the same time the natural habitat of wild animals.

 

PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH FOREST EXPLOITATION IN NIGERIA

  1. Soil erosion.
  2. Depletion of natural vegetation.
  3. Leaching of the soil.
  4. Exploitation causing flooding.
  5. The problem of transportation of logs.
  6. The disappearance of wildlife.
  7. High cost of lumbering and difficulty in cutting trees because they are not in pure stand.

 

IMPORTANCE OF SAVANNA VEGETATION TO THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF NIGERIA

  1. The presence of grasses serves as food for livestock animals like cattle sheep and goats.
  2. The savanna vegetation also promotes arable crop farming of rice, millet, maize, guinea corn, etc.
  3. It also provides jobs for farmers and cattle rearers.
  4. It provides a suitable medium for the development of game reserves e.g. Yankari game reserves in Bauchi State.
  5. Wood from savanna is used for making fire for cooking.
  6. Savanna belts promote tourism and recreation for people through game reserves.