Awareness, perception and attitude of Gboko residents on Urban Forestry, Benue State, Nigeria
The study was carried out to assess the level of awareness and perception of urban forestry among residents of Gboko town, Benue State, Nigeria. Stratified Random Sampling Technique was adopted for the study. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods were used for data analysis. The results showed that majority of the respondents’ (56.6%) were male, 65.1% were married and 52.6% had tertiary education. The results also showed that a good number of the respondents (36.2%) were within the age bracket of 31- 40 years. Edible fruits/leaves/seeds/ oils was ranked as number one perceived benefit of urban forestry, fallen leaves and flowers was ranked as number one perceived risk posed by trees. Majority (52%) of the respondents identified lack of proper care for urban trees as the major problem faced by urban trees in the area. Most of the respondents (65.1%) were willing to volunteer time for urban tree planting enlightenment/campaigns. The results also showed that 68.1% of the respondents have never participated in urban forestry activities, (44.7%) agreed they visit parks/gardens once or twice a month and (61.3%) said they visited Parks for relaxation purposes. There was no significant difference (p>0.05) on the relationship between respondents’ sex and their awareness of urban trees and between respondents’ sex and their perceived problems posed by urban trees. However, there was significant difference (p<0.05) between male and female respondents’ perceived aesthetic value of urban trees. It was established that urban trees in the area not well cared for. It was recommended that local and state governments should reawaked interest in urban forestry.
Keywords: perceived benefit, ecosystem services, perceived problems, perceived risk, volunteer