Urban forests and sustainable livelihoods in port Harcourt City, Nigeria
AbstractDepletion of the ozone layer has been a great challenge to sustainable livelihood all over the world. Efforts are now made to check global warming that poses a great threat to the environment. Port Harcourt being a highly
industrialized city is characterized by environmental pollution. Roles of urban forests in sustainable livelihood in Port Harcourt city was assessed with semi structured dialogue and a street tree survey using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), household surveys and interviews. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze data obtained through the survey. Many Government and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) contribute to urban forestry development. Residents of Port Harcourt city also participate in environmental conservation through beautification of their buildings. Trees are planted as wind breaks, shade, for improved mental and physical health, improved neighbourhoods as well to create visual and sound buffers. Urban forest development is constrained by poor
planting methods, uncertainty in land tenure system, town planning activities, unpopularity of the remaining indigenous tree species, cultural and traditional beliefs, and some human conflicts. In the face of these drawbacks, an effective (long-term) biodiversity conservation programme is urgently needed. This should be reconciled with the town planning management system in order for it to be more effective. It is suggested that urban foresters need to work with other disciplines within the town to effectively manage urban resources. Urban planners, engineers, landscape architects, estate surveyors and urban foresters should combine their efforts to maintain, protect, and regenerate the urban forests.