|Map showing the location of Nigeria (click
for more detail)
Nigeria, once in the heart of the tropical rainforest
belt, has lost about 95% of its total forest cover and now has to
import 75% of the timber it needs for its own purposes. Until recently,
forests in the east were largely spared, because the terrain made
it difficult for heavy machinery and road building. Now that the
western forests have almost gone and roads in the east have improved,
logging companies are moving eastwards. In 1991, the government
set up the Cross River National Park in order to protect Nigeria’s
last large remaining area of rainforest. This forest is particularly
important because it is one of the most species rich in Africa.
As well as the huge diversity of plant life, many endangered animal
species live there, including gorillas, leopards, chimpanzees, forest
elephants and drill monkeys.
Around the park there is a belt of land called the
Support Zone, which is also mostly forest. It acts as ‘buffer’
area between the park and farmland further away. There are 105 villages
in the Support Zone.