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The Impact of Encroachment on the Distribution of Tree Species in Cross River National Park, Oban Division, Nigeria

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DOI: 10.4236/jep.2015.67068    2,929 Downloads   3,384 Views  

ABSTRACT

Increasing human activities around protected area pinpoint to looming degradation and alteration of the component of such areas, especially where adequate measures are not taken to forestall encroachment. The Oban division of the Cross River National Park is one of the oldest rainforests and has been identified as a biodiversity hotspot. However, communities settling around the park have been involved in some economic activities for their livelihood. Resource utilization at the edge of the park may alter the components of the park such as species diversity. Therefore this study is geared towards assessing the impact of human encroachment and the concomitant impact on the distribution of species within the park. The study adopted participatory research methods which included Focus Group Discussion and participatory mapping as well as a plot based survey which involved the laying of sample plots within two zones of the park designated as areas bounded by cultivated land and areas bounded by fallow. Three 40 m × 40 m square plots are laid along a 320 meter transect measured from the boundary of the park at each buffer zone. The plots are separated by 100 m gap. From the result obtained, it is discovered that Musanga cercropoides dominates the outer plots of the cultivated zones and fallow zones comprising 20.2 and 21.5 percent respectively while Terminalia ivorensis dominates the middle and inner areas of the park. Moreover the composition of species decreases inward to the inner part of the park. Diversity index decreases in the order of 2.566 < 2.348 < 2.163 at the cultivated zones and 2.443 < 2.376 < 2.366 at the fallow zones. It is concluded that human activities close to the park alters the species composition of the park. Hence, it’s recommended that adequate alternatives livelihood and incentive be provided to support zone communities to reduce their dependents on the edge of the park.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Yaro, M. (2015) The Impact of Encroachment on the Distribution of Tree Species in Cross River National Park, Oban Division, Nigeria. Journal of Environmental Protection, 6, 744-754. doi: 10.4236/jep.2015.67068.

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