The increase in depletion and extinction of the world’ biodiversity has led to a greater interest from the global community to protect the environment and safeguard natural habitats and thousands of species. The establishment of protected areas is construed to be the most feasible strategy of maintaining biodiversity.
Although, various policies and strategies aimed at sustaining biodiversity have been developed, particularly at national level, biodiversity decline continues unabated.
Habitat loss, fragmentation, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and the spread of invasive alien species have long been recognized as the “Big Five” threats to global biodiversity.
Illegal logging is one of the main contributors to deforestation and forest degradation. Illegal logging undermines forest ecology and the environmental services of forests, and has become the main barrier to sustainable forest management.
Apart from its environmental effects, illegal logging also leads to various socioeconomic problems.
Trade of illegally harvested timber disrupts the global market and often coexists with corruption, which results in reduced incentive to manage forests sustainably and efficiently.
Livestock grazing is one factor driving large mammal population declines and threatening conservation efforts in African savannas (Ogutu, et al. 2016, Schieltz and Rubenstein 2016).
Since some wild ungulate species are similar to livestock in terms of body mass and diet, the presence of livestock in ecosystems might impact negatively on the structure of native herbivore communities due to competitive exclusion.
Illegal logging and the international trade in illegally logged timber is a major problem for many timber-producing countries in the developing world, particularly in West Africa.
It causes environmental damage, costs governments billions of dollars in lost revenue, promotes corruption, and undermines the rule of law and good governance and in some instances, provides funding for specialized crimes such as terrorism.
Illegal logging also retards sustainable development in some of the poorest countries of the world. Consumer countries contribute to these problems by importing timber and wood products without ensuring that they are legally sourced.
Fuel wood Consumption
About seventy percent (70%) of households in some developing countries mainly in rural and semi-urban areas depend largely on fuel wood consumption for their domestic and to a large extent commercial energy needs.
The demand for fuel-wood is higher in the less vegetated north and in urban cities where most poor who cannot afford other cost of other sources of energy supply use fuel wood for food production.
Charcoal production is also in high demand from the highly populated cities and is the most critical cause of forest degradation in some parts of the country.
With growing population, increasing poverty and relatively low industrialization rate, developing countries should develop mechanism to expand the scope of energy requirements in rural and semi-urban areas as part of the strategies to save biodiversity and increase the size of the national vegetation cover.
Effect of Illegal Grazing on Wildlife
Illegal grazing impacts negatively on wildlife. For example, foraging behavior, habitat and diet of wild ungulates changes in the presence of competing cattle.
This occurs mostly during lean resource availability when grazing ranges are constricted to available water and when overall fodder quality is lower.
Due to diet overlap, there is a reduction in plant biomass available for wild herbivores. Hence wild species will consume less suitable forage as they are outcompeted by livestock.
Therefore, ecosystems with high levels of grazing host significantly fewer mammals than expected.
Effect of Illegal Logging on Wildlife
This leads to habitat destruction, displacement, long distance travel of the displaced wildlife which often impacts negatively on the health of the wild animal, high competition on vegetation in the new environment and it sometimes leads to death as the displaced wild animals becomes a ready meal for other predators.
In conclusion, it is a fact that protected areas play an essential role in conservation of biodiversity in general for the survival of mankind.
For effective long- term rangeland productivity and management of these protected areas, there is the urgent need to tackle the existing challenges to meet the current realities in the country. Illegal grazing and illegal logging is a serious threat to biodiversity conservation.
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