Vegetation resources include all the resources one can get from the forest and savanna for the benefit of man, animals and plants. Vegetation resources include timber, roots, leaves, barks of trees, latex, fruits, fibre, firewood and wild animals.
Importance of Vegetation Resources to Man
- Sources of food supply: Resources like fruits (mango, orange), leaves in form of vegetables, bush meat from wild animals provide food for man.
- Sources of timber: Timber like Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany, etc are sources of planks and plywood used for building and furniture. Timber also provides foreign exchange for the nation.
- Medicinal herbs: Leaves, roots and barks of some trees are used to prepare medicine for curing various diseases e.g. the neem plant is used to provide medicine for curing malaria fever.
- Source of firewood: Firewood or fuelwood is used to provide fuel for cooking food, warming the body during cold weather, for drying fish, etc.
- Development of game reserves: Forest and savanna are the home of wildlife which can serve as game reserves, e.g. Yankari Games Reserve.
- Employment: Forest provides employment to some people, e.g. forest guards, lumbermen, sawn millers and hunters.
- Prevention of erosion: Leaves of plants and grasses help to prevent water and wind erosion.
- Provision of furniture: Timber derived from the forest is sawn into planks and plywood used in making chairs, tables, doors and windows.
- Tourism: Forest and savanna are also centres of tourism which can also generate foreign exchange to nations.
- Industrial use
- Fibres from trees are used by industries to make clothing materials, ropes and twine.
- Rubber latex is processed for use in making tyres, tubes, rubber shoes, plastic containers, etc.
- Wood is also used in making paper and tissues.
Problems Resulting from Exploitation of Vegetation Resources
The exploitation of vegetation resources can lead to the following problems:
- Soil erosion: The exploitation of vegetation resources such as timber can lead to soil erosion.
- Depletion of natural forest products: The continuous exploitation of vegetation resources also leads to the depletion of natural forest products.
- High cost of exploitation: Huge amount of money is involved in the exploitation of vegetation resources especially timber.
- Soil leaching: Due to the depletion of vegetation cover, the soil is now exposed to heavy leaching of soil nutrients.
- Flooding: Continuous removal of vegetation can also expose the soil to flooding.
- Disappearance of wild life: The continuous removal of vegetation resources can also lead to the disappearance of wild life.
- Transportation problems: The cost of transportation of most forest resources like timber is always very high from the forest to the cities.
Solutions to the problems resulting from exploitation of vegetation resources
- Forest guards should be employed to check illegal felling and ensure planting of new trees.
- Roads should be constructed round lumbering areas for easy transportation of logs.
- Afforestation i.e. the policy of planting of two trees in an area where one tree is cut should be encouraged.
- Re-afforestation i.e the practice of clearing the bush of bad trees and planting valuable ones to replace them should also be encouraged.
- Bush fallowing should be discouraged.
- Bush burning should also be discouraged.