Economic Analysis of Deforestation in Enugu State, Nigeria


The study provided an economic analysis of the losses from deforestation in Enugu State of Nigeria. Specifically, the study evaluated the effects of socioeconomic factors affecting deforestation in Enugu State. It also identified the factors that influence the decision to deforest. The study further examined the nature and extent of deforestation in the state.

Primary and secondary data generated were analyzed with descriptive statistics, multiple regression and logit analytical techniques. Also total economic valuation (TEV)  model  of  valuing deforestation was used to achieve aggregate economic loss from different deforestation operations in different sectors of forest use.

The major  finding of the study shows that bush fire was the highest cause of deforstation in  Enugu State. From the study, 69% of the respondents stated that they had no knowledge of any forest extension services. Furthermore, the total economic value (TEV) loss of forests in the last three years were N75,855,558.00 for 2008; N89,674,707.00 for 2007 and N85,683,956.00 for 2006. Mulitivariable linaer results of farmland  clearance of forest for cropping activities show  that only size of land, land tenure system and types of cropping were significant at 5% in explaining the observed variabilities in the dependent variable (Y). The study further found out that deforestation experience, household size, total landholdings, educational attainment and gender of respondents were significant at 10% in explaining the observed variabilities for socio- economic characteristics influencing the decision to clear forest for agricultural activities using farmers level logit regression results.

Based on the findings, the study recommends that forest extension services to the  rural households that engage in forestry activities should be strengthened through frequent training.  This will help them have adequate and recent information about government policies on environment and communicate the same to the rural stakeholders. Also, there is need for constant use of both electronic and print media in strengthening anti-deforestation awareness and in communicating recent forestry policies of the government to all the stakeholders in the state. Government should encourage the use of energy saving stove. This will help reduce the quantity of fuel-wood use and hence reduce the level of deforestation in the study area.




The social and economic impact of deforestation cannot be overemphasized. The transformation  of forested lands by human actions represents one of the great forces in global environmental change and one of the great drivers of biodiversity loss. The impact of people has been and continues to be profound. Forests are cleared, degraded and fragmented by timber harvest, conversion to agriculture, road-construction, human-caused fire, and in myriad other ways. The effort to use and subdue the forest has been a constant theme in the transformation of the earth,    in many societies, in many lands, and at most times within the international, national, states and local government/communities circles.

For many developing countries like Nigeria and a state like Enugu State in particular, forests represent an important resource base for economic development. If managed wisely, the  forest  has the capacity to provide a perpetual stream of income and subsistence products, while supporting other economic activities (such as fisheries and other agricultural  activities) through  its ecological services and functions. Meanwhile, Enugu State has land area of  about  8,000 square kilometers and population of 3,257,298 according to National Population Commission (NPC 2006). The state has population density of about 406 persons per square kilometres. About 59% of the population lives in the rural areas where agriculture is the predominant economic activity. Agriculture accounts for about 70% of employment in the rural areas while the government employment is only 5% of working-age population as reported by Eboh,  et  al. (2006).

Forestland may be utilized in many different ways. It can be used for commercial timber extraction; it may be converted for commercial agriculture purposes such as oil palm or rubber plantations. Furthermore, forest may be used for traditional subsistence activities (for example, traditional agricultural practices such as agroforestry and shifting cultivation, and/or for the extraction of non-timber forest products or it may be afforded various levels of  protection  through the establishment of a protected area, a national park or wildlife sanctuary among others according to International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED), 1994. In the views of Nzeh (2004), three activities are done in the forests that yield income to the rural households in Enugu State. These activities are gathering, processing and marketing of forest products.

How best to manage forest resources by rural households so that they can make more income and even create more economic position has become a growing concern for policy makers, interest groups and the public due to the following reasons: the increasing scarcity of virgin forest land; greater awareness and understanding of the social and economic  implications  of  destructive forest practices especially at the rural level; and, a growing realization that the significant opportunities for economic development based on forestry activities should not be wasted.

Greater attempts are now being made to rationalize the decision making process with respect to  the use of forest resources. If the returns from forest resources are to be maximized over the long term, then the forest needs to be managed sustainably (i.e. the production of goods and services need to be balanced with the conservation of the resource base of the forest). In order to make sustainable forest management decisions, more reliable information on the environmental, social, and economic value of forests in their own  right and relative to other land uses is urgently  needed.

According to van Kooten and Bulte (2000), deforestation refers to the removal of trees from a forested site and the conversion of land to another use, most often agriculture. There is growing concern over shrinking areas of forests in the recent time (Barraclough and Ghimire, 2000). The livelihoods of over two hundred million forest dwellers and poor settlers  depend  directly on  food, fibre, fodder, fuel and other resources taken from the forest or produced on recently cleared forest soils. Also, according to Nzeh and Eboh (2007) poor people have thus been able to exploit the forest for food, fuel and other marketable products which create both income  and  employment for the rural dwellers. Furthermore, deforestation has become an issue of global environmental concern, in particular because of the value of forests in biodiversity conservation and in limiting the greenhouse effect (Angelsen et al., 1999). This has led economists to increase their efforts to model the process of deforestation and conversion of forests to other land uses.

But, in the view of Enabor (1986), deforestation is the removal or destruction of forest vegetation without any deliberate attempt at its regeneration. The term thus, includes not only felling of timber trees, but also removal of shrubs, lianes and other plants from the forest. Deforestation is  as old as man himself and as Enabor (1986), rightly reported, the  early stages  of  civilization made it essential to destroy and remove some of the abundant forests in order to pave the way for activities such as arable farming and human settlements which advanced human development. Deforestation can therefore be regarded as primarily a result of man’s efforts to meet his  legitimate needs for social and economic development through expanding agriculture, industrialization and infrastructural development.

Forests in the tropics are being destroyed at an alarmingly high rate in recent years especially in Nigeria and particularly in Enugu State as reported by Eboh et al (2006). According to FAO (1981), statistics estimated that between 8million and 20million hectares of tropical forests are removed annually and that the area of plantation in 1980 was about 12million hectares which represent only 10% of the total forest areas deforested annually. Going by this high rate of deforestation and the low level of aforestation, the World Resource Institute (WRI), (1985) projected that about 225million hectares of tropical forests would have been deforested by the  year 2000. Meanwhile, FAO 2011 reported that between 1990 and 2005 the loss of forests was highest in the tropics. FAO 2011 further stated that the net losses in this region averaged 6.9 million hectares/year between 1990 and 2005  and that the highest rate of conversion of forest  land was in South America, followed by Africa

In Nigeria, the rate of deforestation appears to have accelerated in recent years. Deforestation estimates for the country has been put at approximately 285,000 hectares annually (Oseni, 1998 and Aruofor, 1999). It is believed that at this rate of deforestation about 50% of  the nation’s  forest land area would be destroyed by the year 2000. Going by this trend, deforestation has thus been described as the major problem facing the forest ecosystem in this country. The extent of deforestation in  any particular location or region should be viewed with  economic, ecological  and human consequences in mind. This is because forest degradation may in many ways be irreversible. In the short term, because of the extensive nature of forest, the impact of activities altering their condition is not immediately apparent and as a result they are largely ignored by those who cause them. The forest is often perceived as a stock resource, a free good, with the   land as something freely available for conversion to other uses without recognition of the consequences for the production services and environmental roles of the forest, hence  many  forest ecosystem have been degraded into less diverse and stable ones according to Aruofor, (1999) .

According to Adeofun (1991), the degradation of the forest ecosystem has obvious ecological effects on the immediate environment, but it may also affect distant areas. For instance, agricultural plains or valleys that depend upon forest highlands for their water may  suffer  flooding or drought as a result of the destruction of the forests. Genetic damages and losses of plants, animals and insects can also be serious and possibly permanent.

Deforestation can result in erosion which in turn may lead to desertification. The economic and human consequences of deforestation include loss of potential wood and paper products among others which may then need to be imported. Furthermore, the loss of forest may run counter to what is for many developing countries the most urgent of all needs-fuelwood for cooking and heating.

As environmental degradation and its consequences come clearly into focus we  are  faced with  the prospect that the renewable forest resources may be exhausted and that man stands the risk of destroying his environment if all the impacts of deforestation are allowed to go  on unchecked. It  is therefore, important to carry out a periodic economic analysis, monitoring and assessment of  our environment in Enugu State which is the major reservoirs of our natural resources and most especially the forestry resources.


Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, forests and tree products are rapidly being degraded, logged and cleared for agriculture and other developmental  projects.  Estimates  for total tropical Africa put the total loss in the forest cover between 1990 to 1995 to be about 18 million hectares and 7% annual loss (FAO, 1997). Eboh et al (2006) stated that up to 50% of forest/woodland may have been lost in the last 4 to 5 decades, judging from both FAO and land use and vegetation (LUV) data over the last 3 decades. Meanwhile, FAO (2005) reported that Nigeria, with total land area of 92,377,000 hectares, has annual change in total forest cover of – 3.12% between 2000 and 2005 whereas her primary forest cover annual change within the same period 2000 and 2005 stood at -11.14%. Also, Eboh (1995) observed that about 5% of the forests in Nigeria are lost yearly through the industrial, commercial and other urban-related activities. Another source put the average annual deforestation at 40,000 hectares between 1981 and 1985, while the annual reforestation in the same period was 26,000 hectares  (World  Resources  Institute, 1992).

Deforestation in Enugu State is really an ongoing phenomenon. In the recent years,  so  much  have been said about the impacts of deforestation in Enugu State, as reported by Eboh et al. (2005). This is becoming more pronounced with increasing population of the state which according to NPC (2006) stood at 3,257,298. The effects of such depletion have led to a decline   in forest cover, forest degradation, impoverishment of the soil and general deterioration in environmental conditions. For example, deforestation has often led to frequent occurrence of erosion, flooding and siltation of water bodies in some part of the study area.

One critical aspect of the knowledge gap is the shortage of reliable economic values of deforestation in Nigeria especially in Enugu State. Because of this shortage, policymakers often  do not have credible evidence bases to promote sound forest management. While literature is replete with information about the consequences of deforestation, past studies did not produce quantitative estimates about the economic losses from deforestation.

Generally, the socioeconomic consequences of forest exploitation and consumption are overlooked. In Sub-Saharan Africa which includes Nigeria, many households cooking in  the home depend on fuelwood, which is responsible for more than 75% of  all energy consumed in  the country annually as reported by Ardayfio-Schandorf (1993). Most small-scale industries and food-processing enterprises that women undertake depend in large part on fuelwood. This dependence on fuelwood has contributed to the growing exploitation of the country’s forest.

The economic implications of deforestation in the study area include scarcity of fuelwood for cooking and heating especially among the rural populace. This accelerating nature  of deforestation is also threatening the sustained resources base of the forest raw materials. Another economic implication is the decline in forest-dependent industries which according to Nzeh and Eboh (2007) involves forest product gathering, processing and marketing.

Furtherance to the above observed implications, Woodall (1992) reported that in many cases political decision-makers in developing countries  like Nigeria intentionally permit deforestation  to continue because it acts as a social and economic safety value. By giving people free access to forested lands, the pressure is taken off politicians to resolve the more politically sensitive problems that face developing countries, such as land reform, rural development, power-sharing, and so on.

Available data shows that forest area in Enugu State declined from 177,695.7 hectares in the year 1991 to 156,887.7 hectares in the year 1997 and finally to 135,396.4 hectares in the year 2003 as reported by Eboh et al 2005. While, it is widely acknowledged that this forest decline has far- reaching social and economic consequence, there is little analytical insight into the nature, pathways and causation of these consequences. This gap in empirical evidence of the  consequence of forest decline is hampering policy responses by government and forest stakeholders. This study therefore seeks to ameliorate this knowledge gap by inquiring into the nature, causes and patterns of deforestation in Enugu State.

To find out the economic implications of these consequences of deforestation, there is need to carry out this study. This will enable forestry policy makers, other stakeholders and even farmers in the study area to be better informed about the implication of deforestation and seek innovative means and ways to combat deforestation.


The broad objective of this study is to conduct an economic analysis of losses (if any) from deforestation in Enugu State.

The specific objectives are to:

  • examine the nature and extent of deforestation;
  • identify and analyze the factors that influence the decision to deforest;
  • determine and analyze the resource-use patterns and processes associated with cleared forest land;
  • identify, estimate and analyze financial and economic losses (if any) from deforestation;
  • evaluate the effect of socioeconomic factors on deforestation; and
  • derive lessons for sustainable management and use of



The forest area of Enugu State which stands out clearly as a major source of the state’s forest resources is currently facing problems in terms of accelerating degradation and depletion of its forest cover, according to Eboh et al. (2006). In the views of Eboh et al (2005)  the  forest resources of Enugu State are under pressures from urbanization, infrastructure development, residential construction, population growth and expansion of agricultural crop cultivation. Evidence of these pressures is the growing degradation of both community and state forest. According to Eboh et al (2006), about 25% of forest cover in the study area was lost from 1991- 2003 with the remaining forest now standing at about 16-17% of total land area. Forest loss is threatening rural household incomes and consumption of non-wood forest products (NWFPs). Deforestation threatens the energy supplies to 83% of households in Enugu State who depend on fuelwood (FOS-NLSS, 2005). Being fully aware of forest importance for present and future generations in both urban and rural communities of the state under study, there is therefore the need to carry out adequate assessment of this dwindling natural resource in other to  save the  forest and minimize the resulting environmental degradation that occur due  to  forest deforestation.

Meanwhile, whereas forests are owned by the state, it has been suggested according to FAO (1983) that one way to increase public expenditure is to increase forest charges and revenue collection. But a number of studies in the views of (FAO 1983; Rapetto and Gillis, 1988; Grut, et al 1991) have shown that forest revenue collected in many countries is low especially in developing countries. Low forest revenue not only has a negative impact on total government revenue and expenditure, but also sends incorrect price signals to the market about the value of forests and its products. Such messages are damaging to sustainable forest management in that  low prices can result in over-harvesting and undervaluing of the resource, both of which  contribute to deforestation activities of the forest.

The economic and environmental problems facing the developing world are staggering in their magnitude and their complexity. They are fueled by the vicious cycle of population growth and persistent poverty. Most countries face serious problems in urban environment: overcrowding, unemployment, growing crime,  lack of portable water,  inadequate sewage disposal, increasing  air pollution and the inappropriate disposal of toxic wastes. In rural areas, the deterioration of natural resources not only destroys the environment, but also undermines the very foundation on which economic growth and long term prosperity depend. The catastrophic impact is seen in accelerating soil erosion which results in permanent loss in agricultural productivity,  in  advancing desertification accompanied by drought and famine, in declining coastal and inland fisheries with the associated threats to food security, in the misuse of agrochemicals that poison both people and the environment, in the alarming sedimentation of fragile coral reefs; and in the destruction of biodiversity-rich wetlands. But suffice it to say that none of these natural resource problems is more threatening, none more in need of immediate action, than the deforestation of  the forests.

Furthermore, an important element in the present and future programme for assessing the economic valuation of deforestation of forest resources is the availability of  some  modern  models to determine the resources stock, rate of use as well as the impact of the use on the environment. At present, there is no up-to-date information on economic  analysis  of  deforestation estimates for the state forest area in Enugu state. Currently, Enugu State has no operational forest policy but only that of early 1980’s. This lack of policy has created serious problem like poor government management of protected forestland and even community forest management of unprotected forestland. Further resultant effects of lack of this policy include no proper planning of forestry activities in the state. This gap is causing sustainable management problem of forest in the state. In other to solve this policy gap, research is needed to produce empirical knowledge that will guide policy makers. This study is also justified since information on economic analysis of deforestation estimate are not available in the study area, but this can be derived from this study. Truly, researches have been carried out on the forestry situation in the state, as reported by Ujah and Eboh (2003) but none of them focused on economic analysis of the forest losses especially as it relates to non-reserve forest. Meanwhile, the study will be useful for the management of the state forest resources and for the provision of necessary guidelines for its conservation.

Apart from the fact that results of this study will permit detection of nature, forms of forest deforestation and identification of those factors responsible, they can also act as guidance for taking decision on future land-use and afforestation projects in the study area.


Numerous restrictions were faced during this study. Some of them are listed below:-

  • Accessibility to some of the rural places was not easy due to poor terrain and distance. Some of the places were very
  • Difficulty in convincing the respondents that this research work is purely for academic work and not for political class or government
  • There was problem of data collection from the respondents because most of the respondents depend on memory recall to give the data for this
  • Difficulty in obtaining quality data from both government agencies and rural household respondents.
  • Despite the above named challenges, this study was fully carried out because of the experiences of the researcher and the data collected was enough to complete the Study.

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