International Journal of Physical and Human Geography (IJPHG)

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Population Pressure and Forest Resources Depletion in Gele -Gele Forest Reserve of Edo State, Nigeria.


The history of Man’s dependence on natural forest resources for survival is as old as the origin of man. Thus since ages, man has exploited forest resources for food, shelter and as a means of survival. Unwanton exploitation of forest resources has led to decimation of biodiversity and loss of their values in the survival of mankind. Against this background forest reserves are created as a strategy for conserving biodiversity from net loss. These reserves are ideally protected against unauthorized access. However, with the growing human population and the challenge of providing food for the teeming population reserved areas are being encroached. There seems to have been depletion of the forest resource stock in the Gele-Gele forest reserve in Edo state, Nigeria. Thus, this paper set as its objectives, to assess the impact of population pressure on the forest stock of Gele-Gele reserve. With a Focus on five communities that the forest reserve cuts across, both primary and secondary data were derived and analysed using simple descriptive statistics. The results of the analyses show that there is a steady growth on the population of the communities around the reserve at. Result of the analysis shows that the Gele-Gele forest reserve is rich in biodiversity and biological resources and people derive a lot of livelihood opportunities from the reserve. The authors also found out that there is rapid decline and depletion of the forest stock in the reserve as a result of over dependence on the forest resources in the reserve owing to growing human population. The result also shows that aside from population pressure, lack of indigenous people’s participation in the conservation strategy has contributed to poaching and a major factor to depletion of the forest stock. The people feel alienated from the conservation efforts as such develop apathy towards the reserve. Thus it is recommended that the local people be properly integrated from the planning stage of any conservation activity as the forest reserve. There is need for government to call for stakeholders’ forum in the affected reserve area where all will be free to air out their opinions on ways to enhance the protection of the forest reserve. Government should possibly reduce the size of the reserve to a reasonably manageable size considering the growth in the local population. Also, there is need for incentives to motivate the locales and empower them into investing in other ventures rather than depending on the proceeds from forest resource exploitation in the reserve.

Keywords: Conservation, Forest resources, Gele-gele reserve, Population pressure, Resource depletion

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