Forests are vegetation types or plant formations in which trees are the dominant species. Forest can be seen as plant community, predominantly of trees or other woody vegetation, occupying an extensive area of land.
In its natural state, a forest remains in a relatively fixed, self-regulated condition over a long period of time.
Forest and wild resources provide materials for utensils and construction, and contribute to improved diets and health, food security, income generation, and genetic experimentation.
These resources are typically associated with hunting and gathering societies where they often have special cultural significance, but they also play important roles in more intensive or specialized agricultural systems.
Definition of Forest Resources
Forest resources refers to all products from the forest and its values could be quantified in relation to their benefits to man.
The benefits include timber and non-timber products such as wildlife, watershed, fruits, nuts, ropes, leaves, barks, rattan, seeds, wax, gums, resins, honey, edible vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, roots, fuel wood and fibre.
Non- wood components of forest resources, the shrubs and herbs form significant portions of food supply for both human and wildlife populations. Seed, pulp, wood and leaves of some trees such as Irvingiagabonenesis and Parkia biglobosa are widely used for food, medicine and as inputs in rural industries.
Forest resources provide various materials that meet basic human needs such as food, fuel, fiber, shelter and medicine. The abundant forest resources if properly utilized could enhance and compliment agricultural production, thereby making agriculture sustainable.
Resources are materials which man uses to satisfy his needs. Forest resources are materials in the forest which aid man to satisfy his needs and shape his destiny. They are grouped into timber and non-timber forest products.
These are woods (both hard and soft) exploited from the forest for cooking and heating, construction of houses, making of furniture, poles, baskets, boards, ply-woods and wood-pulp for making of papers and textiles.
Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP’S)
These are a wide array of economic or subsistence materials that come from the forest excluding timber.
They range from food or food additives (nuts, mushrooms, wild fruits, herbs, spices, aromatic plants); plant materials (fibres, creepers and flowers); plant derivatives (raffia, bamboo, rattan, cork and essential oils); to animals (games, snails and bees); and animal products (honey, silk etc.).
Wildlife means the native animals of a region. Wildlife includes any animal, aquatic, or land vegetation which forms part of any habitat.
Thus, the term wildlife effectively encompasses all forms of life, whether plant or animal which are found wild in nature. This would also include marine, freshwater and coastal ecosystems.
Man’s Influence on Forest Resources
Human activities on the environment have affected the abundance of forest and wildlife resources either positively or negatively, since man is the sole care-taker of Earth’s natural resources.
Farming activities in and around the forest, logging, wildfire, illegal grazing, poaching, and buffer zones all which are activities carried by man affects the relative abundance of forest and wildlife resources.
It is a tool for equipping the grass root people with knowledge and skills on every issue that affect their existence.
Linking Forest and Wildlife
Wildlife has four basic requirements: food, cover, water and space. Different wildlife species require different stages of forest growth to meet these needs. The arrangement and ratio of these stages dictates the kinds of wildlife that can live on forest land. The key to wildlife diversity and abundance is habitat diversity.
In summary, the understanding of the relationship between man and forest resources will enable the wise use of forest and wildlife resources for the improvement and development of the economy.
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