Utilisation of wood residues from a cluster of sawmills at Illabuchi by inhabitants of some adjoining communities in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
A large fraction of the total volume of wood meant for the Nigerian wood–based industry is primarily converted in sawmills. This, coupled with some other factors, explain why most of the wood residues, generated during log conversion, are in these sawmills. This scenario is also the case in a cluster of sawmills in Illabuchi, located in Port Harcourt Local Government Area (LGA), Rivers State, Nigeria. It was therefore considered necessary to carry out a study where questionnaire, face–to–face interviews and personal observations were used to elicit information concerning socio–economic characteristics, types of wood residues generated by these sawmills, pattern and purpose for which they were utilised including other associated necessary information. The respondents were randomly selected through the snowball technique from two purposively selected adjoining communities to this cluster of sawmills. Outcome of the survey, after descriptive statistical analyses of the data obtained, revealed that more than 50% of the respondents in the two communities were married, mostly having a family size consisting of between 4 to 6 people as members. The respondents’ monthly income ranged from about ₦10,000 to slightly above ₦50,000, although, between 30 to 38% of the respondents declined to state what they earned monthly. Additionally, results showed that 45 to 58% of the respondents obtained the different types of wood residues from these sawmills for free with 6 to 32% of the respondents claiming to spend between ₦400 and ₦800 monthly for the same purpose. It was also shown by results that 44% of the respondents in the two communities agreed that the wood residues collected from sawmills were used for heating and cooking. Other applications are as bedding for poultry/other animals, flooring and planting of ornamental plants. The implication of the results obtained from this study is that additional applications effective in putting more of these sawmill wood residues into use should be encouraged. This is suggested and expected to be done in ways that will contribute more to local economy.
Keywords: Sawmilling, log conversion, wood processing machines, wood residues