Ojong, Aganyi Asu; Tawo, Catherine Njong (Ph.D) & Martins Richard Egot
Forestry and wildlife offer challenging prospects, both for economic growth and social development. Often, however, its many-sided developmental role is appreciated insufficiently. With only 2 per cent of the total area of the country under productive high forests, forestry and forest industries have been and could continue to be an economic pacemaker. In addition to the exports of cocoa, groundnuts, cotton and palm produce, forest products have been the mainstay of the country’s favourable balance of payments in the past. Of all the Nigerian exports, wood products command the highest range of international currencies. The forest and wildlife also provide raw materials which satisfy local consumer demands and investment needs. Forest exploitation cum wildlife and the resulting industries create employment and increased earnings which are essential objectives of economic development policies. However, the forestry economic boom that had occurred was in response to overseas demands while the benefits of value added accrued to foreign-based investors. The recent rapid economic development has generated a great deal of wood-processing activities, particularly at the primary stage of sawmilling. Present wood requirements are exceedingly large and there would probably be a shortage before very long. Yet, there are needs for the restoration of the national forest-cover that go far beyond the need to balance wood demand and supply. This paper looks at the following as awareness creation, Knowledge and skill acquisition, participatory decision making and change of attitude/behaviour as veritable tools in the management of forest and wildlife resources in Nigeria.