Remarkable increase in tree density and fuelwood production in the croplands of northern Nigeria

Usman, Muhammad and Nichol, Janet E (2018) Remarkable increase in tree density and fuelwood production in the croplands of northern Nigeria. Land Use Policy, 78. pp. 410-419. ISSN 0264-8377

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This paper examines trends in woody vegetation and tree species composition in the Sudan zone of West Africa, using the Kano region of northern Nigeria as a case study. The study compares data on tree density, fuelwood production and tree species composition from fieldwork conducted in 1981 and 2016, as well as on several dates of aerial and satellite images since the 1960s. Recent satellite-based reports of greening in arid West Africa as a response to recovery from droughts in the 1970s and 1980s, are examined to explain the observed trends. Tree densities in the goods and services hinterland of Kano city have at least doubled since the drought period, and no decline, rather a slight increase was observed during the drought decades. This contradicts reports of woody vegetation trends from the more arid and less densely populated Sahel zone, which generally observed decline during the drought years and current recovery to pre-drought levels. The remarkable increase in tree numbers in Kano region is accompanied by increasing fuelwood production as suggested by greater concentration by farmers on tree species highly valued for fuel, at the expense of other traditional species. The main driver of such trends is thought to be rapid population growth in the context of a remaining dependence on wood as fuel by both urban and rural populations in Nigeria. Climate is thought to play only a minor role in explaining the trends. These observations confirm trends in fuelwood production observed in Kano region more than three decades previously, and indicate a somewhat Boserupian response to Malthusian-type pressures on available resources. Nevertheless, a return to rainfall levels of the drought decades combined with climate change predictions of increasing temperatures in dryland Africa, may have serious consequences for rural households if energy sources are not diversified.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Fuelwood, Tree density, Species composition, Population growth, Sudan zone, Kano
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2021 09:51
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2021 10:00

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