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Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Nigeria

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This report studies sustainable management of natural resources in Nigeria. This it does with the aim to determine the extent to which the exploration of natural resources is managed in our country from 1960 till date. Also, given recommendations in which the resources can be managed.

Nigeria is one of those countries in Africa that is fairly rich with natural resources. For example Crude Oil, Coal, Iron, forest, farming, Fishing and so on. It is believed that natural resources development is one of the factors that help the country in some many areas like employment opportunities, economy and so on. The concept of resource is human centered concept. In order for something to be considered as resources, it must be perceived to have value by man. There are basically two types of natural resources: Biological resources and Non-Biological resources. The biological resources are forest; fishes, wildlife and so on are called renewable because they are capable of regeneration. Non biological resources for example Gold, Tin, Coal, and Iron are non renewable resources because they are not capable of regeneration except after long geological periods. Though development is a dynamic process in which there is no end point. In the process of developing these natural resources, the issues of sustainability must be put at the back of mind.

That is, these mineral resources must be developed or processed in such a way that they would go into extinction so that the generation to come will be able to enjoy them. World Commission on Environment explains sustainable measures in the development of resources as necessary steps to take in developing the natural resources in order to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future. Sustainable development is a mode of consumption with the vision that seeks to provide for the needs of humanity while safeguarding the environment so that it will still be capable of providing for the needs of future generations of humanity. This term was originated by the Brundtland Commission whose definition of the term is the most internationally recognized. Sustainable development deals with more than environmental issues alone. Sustainable development is a process that comprises all aspects of human society that can affect human sustenance. This means that the conflict between the so-called “triple bottom line” must be resolved.

Harmony must be achieved in the conflicting objectives of social equity, environmental quality and economic prosperity social equity. Living sustainably will go a long way towards sustainability of natural resources. Each of us can do our part and make it count. Our natural resources will not last forever at the rate that human society is using them up. Recycling, reducing waste generation, and conservation of valuable resources are our best measures so that our ecosystems will still be capable of providing for the generations to come. Sustainability stands on three main pillars Social, Economy and Environment. Social development refers to changes that are beneficial to the society. It refers to continuous process that evolves the society leading to its present as well as future growth. Economy development refers to the growth in the country interacy, life expectancy, poverty etc that is processes that leads the society to betterment. Environmental development is referred to the process of preserving and protecting the natural resources. Though there are been some sustainable measures in the past for the development of development of natural resources but more has to be done.

2.0Methodology and Discussion
For the purpose of this study the sustainable measures for the Forest and Minerals development would be discussed. Sustainable Measure in Forest Development in Nigeria

Sustainability is a term that has gained much popularity in recent time. It means that a resource is used in such a way that it continues to be available. It is a general consensus that we must learn how to sustain our environmental resources including forest so that they continue to provide benefits for the people and other living things on our planet. One fundamental premise for sustainable development is the recognition that environment and development are not exclusive of one another but are complementary and inter-dependent and in the long run man mutually reinforcing (Ahmad and Sanny 1987). This complexity explains the difficulty in operational zing the concept of sustainable Development. Yet there has been ever increasing demand on the limited forest resources and the carrying capably of the fragile forest ecosystem. Under the conditions of poverty for which Nigeria is known, the environment often exhibits the ravages of long years of mismanagement as illustrated by high rate of deforestation, overgrazing, desertification and endangering the forest species.

In advanced countries, most forests are managed but in developing countries like Nigeria, relatively few forests are formally managed. Much timber production in Nigeria still comes from natural forest. The organized forest management is the Teak (tectona grandis) plantations in the South West which have been bastardized by the military administrators of these states in the 90s. Their impact favoured deforestation. This has generated public pressure to manage forests. With this pressure and with much timber production, forests are now in demand for other goods and services in fact, the goods of forest management are broadening. The emphasis is not only on timber yield but also on broader sustainable forest management. This covers the spectrum of forest objective, from conservation to production and in-fact involves multiple objectives.

These include; harvest of timber, fruits, fungi, medicinal plants, and animals; soil and water conservation, biodiversity conservation recreation; and landscape amenity (water fall). In addition, sustainable forest management entails balancing today’s needs with those of future generations. This implies a greater role of foresters in broader land-use decision-making as well as more participation of non-forestry interest groups in setting the objectives of forest management. Forest management comprises activities to serve the long-term protection of the environmental “services” of a forest notably its biological diversity, soil conservation, watershed regulation, and climatic regulation. It also encompasses the biological basis for forest production. However, the emphasis is on the production of forest products (notably timber). Such production usually emphasizes sustained yield – a regular and continuing flow of production that the particular forest can sustain without impairment of its productivity.

About 50% of forests are in protected areas where no produce is removed as national parks. It is important to note that traditional forest management systems in many forest areas have sustained the yields of many products over centuries, such as myths (“Igbo Oro”). Many of these areas are now under economic pressure and deforestation is increasing. Therefore it is necessary to adopt activities such as planning and monitoring; site quality assessment; forest stocks and growth measurement; forest plan; preparation; road and infrastructure provision; soil and water management to prepare and improve the site; silviculture (the tending of woodland) to alter stock characteristics (tending, thinning out, felling regenerating, or planting trees, and fertilization; to result in stand of desired species, age and size composition); harvesting operations; yield control measures to keep output at sustained levels; and protection from pests, diseases, fine and extreme climatic events.

Fire, which was once regarded, as a destroyer of forest, but now is recognized as a management tool when carefully employed. Some important timber trees actually require fire for successful regeneration insects; such as moth, spruce budworm, sawfly and diseases take a heavy toll. However, biological control measures and some aerial spraying, proper cutting circles and slash disposal are increasingly effective. Proper Harvesting methods range from removal of all trees, (clear cutting) to removal of selected mature trees (Selection cutting), and provision for reproduction, either naturally from seed trees or artificially by planting. The rate and frequency of any cutting should aim for sustained production over an indefinite period. Use of all tree harvested: Technological advances, such as particle board and gluing, have created uses for branches, defective logs, trees too small to be milled into boards, and so called inferior trees.

Minerals add to our safety, health and well-being. Iron, copper, coal, petroleum and other minerals have a thousand and one uses. The loss of even one of these minerals would affect our life considerably. Careful mining helps us to conserve coal, iron and oil-deposits. It seems hard to believe that one day we would have to live without coal or oil. Yet, there are chances that oil and coal will get exhausted if we continue using them at the rate we do today. We should take the following steps to conserve non-renewable resources. 3.10Prohibiting wastage of resources:

Wastage of resources should be discouraged. For example, using public transport in place of individual vehicles helps to conserve valuable petrol. Use of ‘car-pool’ system where several people with a common destination go together in one vehicle, saves petrol. Switching off fans, lights and coolers when not in use, using cooking gas economically, use of pressure cookers, using tube lights in place of electric bulb are some ways of conserving non-renewable resources which could help in a big way. 3.11Use of substitutes:

Alternative sources of energy like solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, energy from biomas (biogas), etc., can be used on a large scale to substitute the fossil fuels. Use of solar cookers and biogas for cooking must be encouraged. New materials are being developed to substitute non-renewable resources. For example, plastics are now used to make products that once could be made only out of steel. The use of atomic energy can lessen our dependence on coal and oil. 3.12Recycling resources:

All types of metal wastes, glass and paper and plastic can be recycled and used again. The local kabadiwala collects all the junk and carap which is recycled and used again to make paper, plastic containers and metal articles. Although plastic is not a natural resource itself (it is man-made) but uses up lot of fuel in its manufacturing process. Hence, recycling plastic helps to conserve fuels. Recycling paper helps to conserve forests.


Ahmed, Y.J. and Sammy, G.K. (1987) Guideline to Environmental Assessment in Development Countries UNEP Nairobi.
Areola, O. (1991) Ecology of Natural Resources in Nigeria.
C.B.N. (2001) Annual Report and Statement of Account for the Year ended 31st December 2001 pg 142. Egunjobi, Layi. (1993) Issues in Environmental Management for Sustainable Development in Nigeria. The Environmentalist vol. 13 Number 1 p.33-40. Eboh Erick (2005) Harnessing Renewable Resources Sectors for Economic Prosperity. Paper presented at the Economic Workshop Organized by AIEA and Department of International Development Abuja 22nd June 2005. F.A.O. (1991) “Manual on Fertilizer Statistics’ FAO Economic and
Social Development Paper 1`02 pp.1-2. Stephens Bass (2004) Forest Conservation and Management. Microsoft Encarta Premium suit International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD). 2001. Environment and Natural Resource Management

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