Impact of fire wood collection on trees species diversity in Bauchi state, Nigeria
Firewood as a source of energy plays a vital role in house hold energy requirements. Due to increasing economic hardship in Nigeria, many people are finding it increasingly difficult to afford conventional fuels. Hence, profit-energy supply pattern compels firewood suppliers to cut
trees indiscriminately from marginal forests, with little regard for environmental consequences. This study examined the impacts of firewood collection on tree species diversity in Bauchi State, Northeastern Nigeria. This was achieved by determining the number of trees cut, the number of trees that coppiced and the number of trees that were unable to resist the cutting effects of firewood collectors. Three firewood cutting sites in each ecological zone of the state were selected and in each site two quadrants measuring 150 × 150 meters were taken as samples. The data were analyzed using independent t-test and correlation analysis. The result obtained revealed that the number of dead and coppiced trees was significantly (p<0.001) different at each firewood cutting site. The two variables were also reported to be negatively correlated to each other.
Perception of change in the tree cover in the last ten years indicated a declining trend. Some of the tree species reportedly found to be less abundant were Acacia albida Del, Anogeissus chevalieri Harms, Detarium microcarpum, Boswellia dalzielii Hutch and Ficus thonningii. It could be inferred that most of the trees cut for firewood in the state were not coppicing. The study recommended that firewood collection in the state should be regulated to ensure sustainable economic practice that allows the forest re-growth.
Keywords: Firewood, forest, tree, diversity, Nigeria