IMPACT OF DEFORESTATION ON SOIL CONDITIONS AND BIODIVERSITY IN ANAMBRA STATE OF NIGERIA

AUTHOR: ANYANWU JONATHAN CHIMEZIE

DEPARTMENT: GEOGRAPHY AND METEOROLOGY

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

This research was carried out in four agro-ecological zones of Anambra State to determine the impact of deforestation on soil conditions and biodiversity. Soil samples from the study areas were analyzed for selected properties like particle size (sand, silt and clay), bulk density, moisture content, field capacity, organic carbon, pH, organic matter and soil micro-organisms. The result revealed that the soil samples from the forests have better physical, chemical and biological properties compared to samples from farmlands. The analysis revealed that the main effect of location was significant (p<0.05) for all the soil properties except bulk density. The main effect of land use was significant (p<0.05) for soil moisture, bulk density, organic carbon, organic matter, pH, viable bacteria number and viable fungal propagule. The interaction effect of location and land use on soil properties was significant (p<0.05) only for soil moisture. The degree of erosion in the study area varied from slightly gullied (Zone A) to most severely gullied (Zone C). Species abundance and diversity indices such as Simpson’s Index, Shannon-Wiener Index and Species Evenness Indices were used to assess biodiversity. The result revealed that Zone D has the highest species diversity and evenness compared to other zones and that Zone B has the least species diversity and evenness. Estimation of dominant plant species revealed that Mangifera indica (Mango), Raphia Spp. (Palm wine tree), Pentraclethra macrophyla (Ugba/Ukpaka), Elaeis guineensis (Oil palm tree), Azadiracta indica (Neem) and Milicia excelsa (Iroko) were the dominant and most important tree species in the study area. The study established the immediate and remote causes of deforestation in the study area as farming, construction works, rural poverty, population growth, government sponsored projects, fuelwood collection and hunting activities, and the impact of deforestation as erosion, loss of soil nutrient, increased bulk density of the soil, high soil acidity, reduction of soil micro-organisms, loss of biodiversity, loss of medicinal and economic trees. Policies geared towards eradication of poverty and population control were part of the recommendations proffered to help in forest re-establishment in the state. Economic policies are very crucial for the conservation of forests as people will continue to clear forests unless the government provides economic incentives for forest preservation. The study further suggested that easements and management agreements practiced in some developed countries should be adopted because they can provide incentives to conserve forests. The study recommended also that modern farming techniques that emphasize conservation tillage, as well as plantation forestry, should be embraced in response to deforestation.

TO VIEW THE FULL CONTENT OF THIS DOCUMENT, PLEASE VISIT THE UNIZIK LIBRARY WEBSITE USING THIS LINK, http://naulibrary.org/dglibrary/admin/book_directory/Thesis/11058.pdf

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