Forest management is the act in which activities in forest are being controlled in an orderly manner.
Meaning and Importance of Forest
A forest generally refers to any area of land that is covered with trees along with the undergrowth of shrub between the trees.
- Forest provides timber for export.
- It provides wood for used planks, furniture, fuel, paper, etc.
- It is a source of medicinal herbs.
- Provides wild fruits and seeds for consumption.
- Forest harbour wild animals which are useful to man as meat.
- Forest cover helps to prevent erosion and serves as wind break.
Forest has effect on local climatic conditions and helps to check desert encroachment.
- It increases soil fertility through the decomposition of leaves of plants and helps to enhance the growth and activities of soil microbes.
- Source of industrial materials such as dye, resin.
- Provides leaves for packaging e.g I plan its.
- Serves as tourist attraction.
- Serves as source of revenue and employment to people who are involved in lumbering activities.
Some Important Trees and Animals found in Forest
|1. Mahogany (Khaya ivorensis)||1. Elephant (Loxodonta agricana)|
|2. Iroko (Chlorophora excelsa)||2. Green Monkey (Phacopithecus aethiopicus)|
|3. African Walnut (Lovoa klaineana)||3. Grass cutter (Thryonomys swinderianus)|
|4. Obeche (Triplochiton scleroxylon)||4. Antelope (Neotragus spp)|
|5. Opepe (Sarocephalus diderrichii)||5. Bush fowl (Gallus spp)|
|6. Pulp wood (Gmelina arborea)||6. Mahogany (Crycetomys gambianus)|
Forest Management Practices
1.) Forest regulations :
These are laws made by government aimed at preserving or conserving forest trees and other forest resources. Such laws helps to regulate the felling of trees for timber (lumbering), killing of animals in forest reserve etc.
In Nigeria, some of the forest regulations are :
- Prohibition of individuals or group of persons from entering Forest reserve to fell trees, hunt, make private farms etc, without permission granted by the appropriate authority;
- Prohibition of persons from setting fore on forest reserve and bush in general.
This is the practice of replacing cut trees in the forest. There are two types of regeneration — natural and artificial regeneration. In natural regeneration, the stumps of cut trees are allowed to regrow to become new trees. Also seeds that are naturally dispersed germinate and grow into new forest trees. This is a cheap way of regenerating forest as it does not involve any cost on the part of the farmer.
In artificial regeneration, seeds or seedlings of forest trees are planted to replace cut trees in the forest. This method is expensive in terms of cost and time.
This involves the planting of trees in an area where there has been no forest previously. It is usually an attempt to artificially establish forest cover in areas where there are no natural forests. This helps to prevent desert encroachment, protect the soil against erosion and serves as wind break. Atmospheric pollution is also reduced while the environment can be beautified through afforestation. Afforestation also brings about all the other benefits that are derived forest
This is the continuous removal of forest stands (trees) without replacing them deforestation could be brought about by :
- Man’s farming activities
- Bush fire
- Over grazing
- Road construction
- Mining and quarrying
- Timber exploitation and fuel wood cutting
- Natural disasters
Deforestation has the following effects on the environment :
- Encourages/increases soil erosion
- Reduces water percolation
- Results in loss of soil nutrients
- Reduces humus content of soil
- Reduces the amount of rainfall in the area
- Hinders activities of soil micro-organisms
- Reduces wild life population in the area
- May lead to desertification
5. Taungya system
This is the growing of both forestry and agricultural crops on the same piece of land at a time. Or the integration of annual cropping with early stages of forest establishment. The growing of agricultural crops continues on the land until the Forest crop closes canopy.
There are certain conditions that favour, the practice of taungya system, these are ;
- Land hunger
- Over population
- Government policy
- Unemployment or underemployment
- Low standard of living
- Availability of incentive for additional farming
- The need to remove unwanted trees from the forest.
Taungya stems allows for the utilization of fertile Forest land for farming by farmers while it assist the foresters in reducing the cost of establishing forest. Farmers have access to free land while more land is brought under forest cover.
6. Management problems in forestry
- Bush fire will kills both plant and animal species in the forest.
- Incidence of pest and diseases.
- Long period of maturity of timber.
- Unlined timber exploiters.
- Indiscriminate deforestation by farmers and fuel wood users or dealers.
- Inadequate forest supervision by Forest personnel. This could also be due to inadequate forestry personnel.