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Evaluation of Illegal Forest Activities in South-West of Nigeria

Abiodun Olusesi Oso1 and Folaranmi D. Babalola2

South-west region of Nigeria comprises states that are among the major timber producing states in the country. However, this region of the country is dominated with different forms of forest offenses. Despite this, there is lack of information on the different forms of forest offenses as well as the economic implication of such offenses in the region of the country. This study investigated the different forms of forest offenses in six states of south-west of Nigeria. The study sites were Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti States. The survey was carried out through evaluation of records on forest offenses and corresponding fines charged for each of the offense for a period of 10 years (2004 to 2013). An interview of forest stakeholders was also carried out as a follow-up on factors responsible for the offenses. The group of respondents interviewed during the survey includes forest officers, saw-millers, timber contractors, and rural people living around selected forest reserves in each of the states. Ogun State had the highest number of forest offenders. This was followed by Osun, Ondo, and Oyo states, respectively. Illegal cutting of trees ranked topmost of all the forest offenses and attracted the highest cumulative fines of N3,395,350 (23.6%) for the 10 years under study. This was followed by trafficking of unhammered logs which attracted cumulative fines of N1,768.115 (12.3%) for the same period. Other forest offenses recorded include illegal farming, flitching in the reserve, among others. The present practice of accepting forestry as public venture is not ideal. A newly reconstructed and restructured forest sector, built on the pillars of accountability and transparency, would play a major role in economic growth and sustainable development.

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