Impact of Unmitigated Rosewood Exploitation in Nigeria

Ogunwusi A. A., Ibrahim H. D


The forest estate in Nigeria has been under serious threat occasioned by deforestation prior to independence.  The public forest estate which was acquired between 1900 and 1970 embraces 100,000km2 or 11% of the total land area.  This has reduced significantly to less than 6% of the land area.  Despite this, the forest estate is still under unmitigated exploitation.  The latest onslaught is caused by the uncontrolled exploitation of P. erinaceus popularly known as Madrid tree.  P. erinaceus is highly demanded in China for production antique furniture and other exotic items.  The trade has the backings of the Chinese government in view of the high revenue generation and employment.  To sustain supply, the Chinese importers have combed the forests in Senegal, Gambia, Ghana and are now in Nigeria after exhausting the P. erinaceus resources in these areas.  Today, Nigerian exports is about 45% of the total requirement to China and this has decimated the forests in Kogi and Taraba States and have moved to some other States most importantly, Cross River State.  While this is empowering the emergency businessmen in different communities, it is fast decimating the forests through the methods being use to cut and gather the trees in dumps.  The selective logging has also led to reduction in the number of available plant species as some of the unwanted species are logged over to get to the required one.

Keywords: antique furniture, over exploitation, log, rosewood Madrid.

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