Trees are cut down so their wood can be burned or used to make things, such as buildings, furniture, or paper. Large areas of trees are removed so that the land can be used to grow crops or to provide places where farm animals can graze.
The main drivers of deforestation in the country are agriculture, logging and mining. Studies in the southern region have cited rapid population growth, agricultural expansion (e.g. cocoa belt of southwest Nigeria), use of fuel wood and logging as major drivers of deforestation in the country13.
The forests are cut down to make way for vast plantations where products such as bananas, palm oil, pineapple, sugar cane, tea and coffee are grown. As with cattle ranching, the soil will not sustain crops for long, and after a few years the farmers have to cut down more rainforest for new plantations.
The most common pressures causing deforestation and severe forest degradation are agriculture, unsustainable forest management, mining, infrastructure projects and increased fire incidence and intensity.
The destruction is driven mainly by farming and land speculation in Brazil, an agricultural powerhouse and the world's largest exporter of beef and soy. The country hosts about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest.
Cutting trees provides for regeneration, improved habitat for many species, maintains forest health, and helps us shape forests for the future. For forest owners, it does all this while providing revenue. The story is an exciting one for those that listen.
Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun's rays during the day and retains heat at night. That disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals.
Without trees, formerly forested areas would become drier and more prone to extreme droughts. When rain did come, flooding would be disastrous. Massive erosion would impact oceans, smothering coral reefs and other marine habitats.
There has been a rapid growth in Nigeria's population and this has necessitated the rise in the demand of more food for the country. In order to meet the demand for food, large areas of forests are destroyed yearly either by bush burning or logging in a bid to make provision for farming lands.
What is the Nigerian government doing about deforestation?
The Federal Government has launched the Nigeria's National Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Strategy document that would tackle the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation.
Why does cutting down trees increase global warming?
Forests and trees store carbon . When they are degraded or completely cleared, e.g. by fire – a process referred to as deforestation – this stored carbon has the potential to be released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change .
People cut down trees for lots of reasons. This is because people need to build stores, houses, and other buildings. People also cut down trees to clear land for agricultural use. In some cases, trees are cut down for wood for fires to heat up their homes and cook food.
Nine countries share the Amazon basin—most of the rainforest, 58.4%, is contained within the borders of Brazil. The other eight countries include Peru with 12.8%, Bolivia with 7.7%, Colombia with 7.1%, Venezuela with 6.1%, Guyana with 3.1%, Suriname with 2.5%, French Guiana with 1.4%, and Ecuador with 1%.
1. Beef production is the top driver of deforestation in the world's tropical forests. The forest conversion it generates more than doubles that generated by the production of soy, palm oil, and wood products (the second, third, and fourth biggest drivers) combined.
By consuming less, avoiding single-use packaging, eating sustainable food, and choosing recycled or responsibly-produced wood products, we can all be part of the movement to protect forests. Make choices for forests, nature, and people — and do so vocally!