Indigenous forest conservation practices in Benue state, Nigeria.
This study investigated indigenous forest conservation practices in Benue State, Nigeria, to provide baseline information for improved forest conservation efforts in the State. Multi-stage sampling technique was adopted to select 10 out of 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the State for the study. Three hundred respondents from 150 households in the 10 LGAs were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaire. Data obtained were analyzed using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Indigenous forest conservation practices were identified under three main indigenous conservation systems: laws and taboos, application of punitive measures on defaulters and Agroforestry. Apart from ‘no hunting without permission’, no Significant differences (p>0.05) were observed in the use of laws and taboos as indigenous conservation practices. Similarly, no significant differences (p>0.05) were observed in the application of punitive measures on defaulters as a conservation method across the ethnic groups except for the punishment of ‘making sacrifices’. No significant differences (p>0.05) were observed in the use of Agroforestry as a conservation practice. Fire outbreak, secret and indiscriminate logging of timber and harvesting of non-timber forest products, grazing, and inadequate finance for mobilizing forest guards and hence insufficient forest guards were the main challenges of forest conservation efforts in the study area. No significant differences (p>0.05) were observed in the challenges encountered.
Key Words: Indigenous, Conservation Practices, Multi-stage, Ethnic groups, Laws, Taboos, Agroforestry, Challenges