Nigeria and its forests
The Ekuri forest
Threats to the forest
 
Disclaimer
and the solutions...
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After much discussion, the offer from the timber company was turned down and the villagers decided to work together in a co-operative to manage the forest themselves. With the CFO, they worked out a detailed plan to make the most of their resources. Some parts of the plan they could do on their own and some of it needed funds or training from outside.

The villagers decided they needed to:

  • keep some parts of their forest as conservation areas
  • carefully control any clearing of the forest for farming and replant some areas already cleared
  • make sure that they never gathered more plant material than the forest could easily replace naturally
  • get a road built
  • market their produce themselves directly to the towns
  • start making furniture and other goods for sale from the raw materials they gathered
  • get proper training, especially for the young people
  • fell some trees for timber strictly following Forestry Department guidelines (never felling more timber than the forest could easily replace naturally)
  • seek FSC certification for the timber
An African Forest
A photograph of a typical African forest - this one is in Uganda

The people of Old and New Ekuri are working together to improve their lives and also to ensure the long-term survival of their forest. A lot of the issues raised in this case study are important elsewhere in the world.

Much of the plan is now in action. The villagers improved the way they collected and sold the non-timber forest products and made enough money to pay for the new road. They did much of the preparation work themselves. This, in turn, has made marketing easier and the direct sale of NTFPs in the towns now brings in a good income which has improved the lives of individuals and the community. Some timber is also being sold in the town of Calabar. In return for the help given by the Park officials, the villagers agreed to keep out of the Park , so the endangered animals are no longer threatened by hunting, farming or logging. In fact, the villagers are working with the Park to ensure it remains protected