Nigeria is a blessed land; rich with human and natural resources e.g. forests, waterfalls, etc. Nigeria’s vegetation comprises of forests and most of them are in the southern and north-central parts of the country.
A forest is a piece of land covered by trees, herbs, wildlife, bushes and bush fowls (birds) e.g. Sambisa Forest. While a forest reserve is a portion of the forest protected by the federal government against public interference to enhance the capture elements of the biodiversity of a place e.g. Ise Forest Reserve.
Nigeria’s forest zones are divided into Rainforests and Mangrove forest. To ensure future generations get to experience the beauty of these forests, the government set aside certain locations in the country as Forest Reserves.
Below are a few
1. Afi River Forest Reserve
This Forest Reserve in Cross River state (Southern Nigeria) which lies between the Mbe Mountain Community Forest and Afi Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the endangered Cross River Gorilla and some bird species. It is one of the largest Forest Reserve in the country.
2. Akure Forest Reserve
This Reserve in Ondo State, South Western Nigeria might be in a small area surrounded by a town but it is filled with various animals and internationally protected.
3. Edumanom Forest Reserve
In Nembe/Brass, Bayelsa State (South-East and South-South region of Nigeria popularly called the Niger Delta Region), lies this Forest Reserve which is the last habitat for Chimpanzees in Nigeria. It is also a shelter for other endangered animal species like the Sclater Monkeys, Olive Colobus, Niger Delta Red Colobus, etc.
4. Okomu Forest Reserve
Nestled in Edo state (Niger Delta region of Nigeria) near the Okomu National Park, this is one of the largest Forest Reserve in the country. It is home to Elephants and some endangered primates. With an array of 200 species of birds, it is perfect for bird watching and eco-tourism.
5. Oluwa Forest Reserve
Located in the South-Western region of the country, Ondo state
6. Oba Hills Forest Reserve
This Forest Reserve located in Osun State (South-West region of Nigeria) is home to chimpanzees even though it is under threat from human encroachment and poaching.
7. Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve
The Mambillia plateau stretches across much of the South-East and somewhere in that mix lies the Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve. It is an important Bird-life area as it houses 158 bird species including some endangered ones such as the Bannerman’s weaver bird and the Crossley’s Ground Thrush. It is also home to other animals like the Putty Nose Monkey, Nigerian-Cameroon Chimpanzee, Mona Monkey, Double-toothed Barbed, Green Bulbul, Cameroon Olive pigeon and the Tantalus Monkey.
8. Idanre Forest Reserve
Listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature, this reserve in Idanre LGA, Ondo State (South-Western Nigeria) is the home of many endangered species especially birds.
9. Ise Forest Reserve –
This Forest Reserve in Ekiti State (South Western Nigeria) is currently listed in the World Database of Protected Areas.
10. Okeluse Forest Reserve
This Forest Reserve in the South-West of Nigeria is also home to endangered animal species.
Visiting Forest Reserves is a great tourist activity; it is eco-tourism at its best. It allows you to go birdwatching. You have time to get away from the noise of the city since forests filter out noises leaving just white noises like the rustling leaves.
You also get to move around the Reserve on dirt bikes and four-wheel drives for recreation or go hiking and camping there. Also, you may see rare animals that thrive best in the isolation provided by forest regions. Not to mention the people and businesses that survive because of the forests e.g. the Okomu Palm Oil and Rubber tree plantations.
Next time when you are planning places to visit include a trip to a Forest Reserve in your ‘to-do’ tourism list.
Featured image source: Nigeria Galleria