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Colonial Forest Policies and Tropical Deforestation: The Case of Cross River State, Nigeria

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DOI: 10.4236/ojf.2015.51008    4,090 Downloads   5,186 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Nigeria has lost over 90% of her forest resources due to the hydra-headed and enduring problem of deforestation, hinging on timber logging, establishment of agricultural plantations in hitherto intact forest reserves, construction of highways, mining of solid minerals, approval of taungya farming activities in forest reserves, extraction of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), and dereservation of large areas of certain forest reserves for other economic and development activities. Though colonialism was dismantled in the first half of the twentieth century, its policies on forest nationalization remain unchanged across many independent states in the tropics including Nigeria. The paper assesses the colonial forest policy underpinnings of tropical deforestation in Cross River State of Nigeria. It highlights the weaknesses of forest reservation laws and its impacts on tropical deforestation. The paper concludes by advocating a shift in forest policies in favour of property rights recognition and devolution of forest management responsibilities to forest communities.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Enuoh, O. and Bisong, F. (2015) Colonial Forest Policies and Tropical Deforestation: The Case of Cross River State, Nigeria. Open Journal of Forestry, 5, 66-79. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2015.51008.

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