Climate variation, its impact on non timber forest products and livelihood of Ohafia People, Abia State Nigeria
Increased vulnerability of Non timber forest products to climate variation has overtime, resulted to serious negative consequences on rural dwellers that depend on rain, sunshine and wind for their fruiting, maturity and harvesting, to enhance livelihood. The scope of this study analyzed the effect of climate variability and NTFPs through peoples’ perception using a field survey. The objective of the research therefore focused on the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents in the study area, activities of the people that increase the risk of climate variability, the effect of climate variability on the quantity and composition NTFPs in the study area, the perception of people on the effect of climate variability on the NTFPs and the contribution of NTFPs to their livelihood. A total of 216 respondents were sampled, the study adopted a simple random technique which was used to select 9 villages out of the 26 villages in Ohafia Local Government Area through a structured questionnaire. Findings show that large proportion (72.2%) of the respondents censured increased temperature and heavy rainfall (64.4%) as the most reason for decreased yield in NTFPs in the last four years. Majority (88.9% and 58.3%) of the respondents opined that climate variability had reduced fruit yield and price instability respectively. Over 35% said climate variability had brought about species scarcity. 54.2% had no access to safe drinking water, 25.5% of the respondents made very low sales from NTFPs, while 3.2% and 29.6% faced starvation and diseases. Climate variability influence on the availability of Non timber forest products will affect the income status and food security of rural dwellers that depend on it. Vulnerabilities could be reduced through campaign on embracing climate variability plans, funding the campaign through the collaboration of government and foreign countries, re-training extension workers, cash donations and training the rural dwellers.
Keywords: Climate variability, Food security, NTFPs, Ohafia and Rural dwellers