Assessment of Tree Species Diversity, Yield and Benefits of Small Scale Private Natural Forests to Owners in Ondo State, Nigeria

Adekunle, V. A. J. and Alli, A. L. Assessment of Tree Species Diversity, Yield and Benefits of Small Scale Private Natural Forests to Owners in Ondo State, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Forestry, 50 (1) 16-26

Assessment of Tree Species Diversity, Yield and Benefits of Small Scale Private Natural Forests to Owners in Ondo State, Nigeria

This paper examined the present status of small-scale natural forests in terms of tree species diversity, abundance, and yields in Ondo State, Nigeria. The contributions of the forests to owners’ livelihood and the various forms of restrictions were highlighted. Data on tree species diversity and growth variables were collected from five plots (25 x 25m) randomly located in six different locations across the State. Information on benefits and restrictions were obtained from key informants, officials of Forestry Department, literatures, annual reports and files. A total of 344 stems/ha of 29 families and 99 species, (Shannon Index = 4.10, Evenness = 0.90) were encountered. The most abundant species and family were Celtis zenkeri and Sterculiaceae respectively. The forests were in form of woodlots, relics of natural forests, cocoa agroforest and highly economic tree species purposefully retained on farmlands. The dbh varied between 16.58 and 41.60cm, height between 15.99 and 18.40m, basal area between 12.13 and 48.05cm2/ha and volume between 117.47 and 307.73m3/ha. About 45% of the trees were merchantable. The social, economic and ecological benefits of these forests to owners and the various personal and institutional restrictions, in order of importance, were enumerated. It was suggested therefore that the effective use of forest extension agents could remove some of the restrictions and promote small-scale forest management in Nigeria