VEGETATION OF NIGERIA
The vegetation in Nigeria can be grouped into three major zones. These are:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- It has tall, woody trees (white and red mangrove).
- It has aerial roots.
- It has evergreen trees with broad leaves.
- Trees found include white mangrove, red mangrove and some raffia palms.
- Raffia palm is used for making baskets, bags, brooms, cane chairs and the production of palm wine.
- Mangrove trees are used for boat building and firewood.
- 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.
- It has tall trees with buttress roots evergreen and broad leaves.
- Trees exist in different heights, storeys or layers i.e. bottom, middle and upper layers.
- Presence of little undergrowth due to canopy of the forest.
- Presence of climbers, creepers, epiphytes and parasitic plants.
- It has numerous heterogeneous species of trees like Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany, African walnut, etc.
- Plants species are not in pure stand i.e. trees are scattered.
- Presence of tropical hardwood like Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany, etc. timber for construction.
- Lumbering of these trees provides employment.
- Farming activities, especially the cultivation of tree crops in plantation e.g. rubber, cocoa, oil palm, etc.
- Forest provides wood as source of fuel.
- GUINEA SAVANNA
Location: This Savanna is found in Enugu, Lokoja, Ilorin, Makurdi, Oshogbo, etc.
- It is the largest of all the vegetation belts in Nigeria.
- Presence of tall grasses.
- Presence of tall trees with broad leaves.
- The tree are scattered and deciduous i.e. they shed their leaves during dry season.
- 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.
- It has short numerous grasses.
- Presence of scattered and short deciduous trees.
- Plant species include acacia, date palm, silk cotton plants, baobab.
- Some trees have thorns while others have thick barks.
- 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.
- It has short scanty grasses.
- Presence of short and tough shrubs/trees.
- Grasses are fewer, poorer and in patches.
- It has many drought resistant and scattered plants.
- Popular plants include acacia, gum Arabic, date palm, baobab, etc.
- MONTANE VEGETATION
Location: This vegetation is found in Jos and Adamawa area.
- It is associated with highland areas.
- It has varied trees at its windward side.
- It has grasses at its leeward side.
- Presence of short, scattered and deciduous trees.
- Livestock production especially transhumance is common.
- Cultivation of crops takes place.
IMPORTANCE OF FOREST VEGETATION TO THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF NIGERIA.
- The forest vegetation provides both food and cash crops like yam, cassava, oil palm, rubber, cocoa, etc.
- Forest provides economic trees (timber) like Iroko, Obeche, etc. for construction purposes.
- Timber and cash crops exported to other countries do generate foreign exchange for the nation.
- Forest also provides jobs for hunters, lumbermen, forest guards, etc.
- Iroko, beche, Cocoa, Rubber, etc. are raw materials for industries.
- Wood from the forest is used for making fire for cooking.
- Forests are centres of tourism and at the same time the natural habitat of wild animals.
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH FOREST EXPLOITATION IN NIGERIA
- Soil erosion.
- Depletion of natural vegetation.
- Leaching of the soil.
- Exploitation causing flooding.
- The problem of transportation of logs.
- The disappearance of wildlife.
- 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
- The presence of grasses serves as food for livestock animals like cattle sheep and goats.
- The savanna vegetation also promotes arable crop farming of rice, millet, maize, guinea corn, etc.
- It also provides jobs for farmers and cattle rearers.
- It provides a suitable medium for the development of game reserves e.g. Yankari game reserves in Bauchi State.
- Wood from savanna is used for making fire for cooking.
- Savanna belts promote tourism and recreation for people through game reserves.