Case Study of Nigeria
Based on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), Nigeria has the world’s highest deforestation rate of primary forests. Primary forests are forests with no visible signs of past or present human activities. During the year 2000 and 2005, through Logging, subsistence agriculture, and the collection of fuel wood, the country has lost 55.7 percent of their primary forest. Deforestation activities have occurred near the Niger River delta. The delta is home to coastal rainforest, mangrove forest, and contains rich oil deposits. During 1958, Shell Oil company has already started to extract tens of billions worth of petroleum and natural gas. The country has received high revenues from Shell’s extraction but local tribes’ people in the area has experienced several problems such as pollution and deforestation. The tribesmen demanded Shell turn over more oil revenue to locals and clean up oil pollution. The locals started to be rebellious while Shell armed soldiers to cease the rebel. The chief of the tribes was executed and Shell continues their petroleum and gas extraction. Soon after the death of the tribes’ chief, Shell announced that they’d increase gas projects at the Delta. The locals learned that extortion pays, and started to sabotage oil installations. When there is an oil spill, the locals would receive compensations from Shell. Attacks and sabotages increased rapidly, and by 1999 the U.N. named the delta the most threatened in the world. Conditions were worsened in the early part of 2006. Kidnappings cases started and also an increase of attacks on the factories. Ransom is then asked for. These are the main activities locals do to earn enough money as incentives given by oil companies are not enough for their daily usage and shouldering environmental costs. Luckily, there is little evidence of oil contamination because the petroleum is light and evaporates quickly, thus pollution is not a big problem. However, oil production in Nigeria does contribute to global warming because the country flares more gas than any other country. (Flaring refers to the burning of excess gas that comes up with crude.) The methane produced has a much higher global-warming potential than carbon dioxide (64 times as active a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide).
Deforestation is a serious problem in Nigeria. Since 1990, the country has lost some 6.1 million hectares or 35.7 percent of its forest cover. And its primary forest has been reduced by an even faster pace. From 1990 to 2005, the primary forest has been reduced by 79 percent. Nigeria government has finally looked into the matter with its new and more accountable government. The government has been spending $6 billion every year, but it is still not enough to totally curb illegal logging. Timber concessions have been granted in national parks, and oil-palm plantations are replacing natural forest. Past governments have tried to stem forest loss through a ban on log exports, promoting of agroforestry and community-based conservation schemes, increasing energy and fuel efficiency, and encouraging plantations and reforestation programs to achieve a target of 25 percent forest cover. But the impact appears to be limited given Nigeria's astounding deforestation rate. Nigeria has seen a plummet of forest animals as deforestation activities are still continuing. A drop in the productivity of fisheries. The government is still trying many other ways to curb such a devastation. International communities have come together and discussed ways to solve it and providing technology and money for countries with similar problems. Government is also trying to educate the public on deforestation and its consequence. People must understand that what they are doing is hurting not only themselves, but the environment for the entire world.