Assessment of Forest Products and Services Utilization as Sustainable Livelihood Options Among Households in Okpukwu Local Government Area, Benue State, Nigeria

Author(s): P.U. Ancha, E.T. Ikyaagba, A.E. Egwunatum, B.I. Origbo, L.M. Sunday

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Published: 2020-11-11

Abstract:

This study examined the impact of extraction and utilization of forest resources as sustainable livelihood option for households in Okpukwu LGA in Benue State. Data was collected from 144 respondents with the aid of semi-structured from six (72) households in 12 communities from the six (6) randomly selected council wards in the LGA. Descriptive statistics as percentages and mean, 5 point Likert scale rating and Spearman correlation analysis were employed to analyze socio-economic characteristics, forest resources exploitation and utilization as well as relationship between socioeconomic variables of the people and level of forest utilization. The results showed that there were significant differences between variable responses in the six wards in family sizes, distance to the forest, educational status, occupation, age, sex and estimated income from collected forest resources. Majority of the respondents that collected forest resources form the reserve were between 31-40 years of age, with reserve contribution to the livelihood of the people rated low in food  (MWS=2.01<2.95), income(MWS =2.31 < 2.95), and low in the area of Trade (MWS =2.84 < 2.95). However, the mean weight score of contribution of forest resources to livelihood was in the order recreation (4.33) > employment (4.33) > medicine (3.34); type and abundance of forest products was chewing stick (2.59) > animal fodder (2.57) > fuelwood (2.45) while the utilization level was fuelwood (4.47) >folder (4.50) > Mushroom (4.44) > Timber (4.33).The study revealed that 2/3 of the 18 identified forest products in Okpodu LGA were highly utilized (MWS > 3.05) for proceeds from the reserve (19.4%) and re investing in farming activities (13.8%). The study recommended the pursuit and enlistment of these forest communities into the global carbon credit scheme for sustainable management of identified forest products and services, especially the fuelwood with high potential of causing degradation and deforestation.




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