TYPES OF VEGETATION IN NIGERIA AND ZONES

Types Of Vegetation In Nigeria

Nigeria is located in Western Africa. in the east Nigeria share border with Cameroon and Chad and in the east in the west, Nigeria shares land borders with the Republic of Benin, and in the north, a border was shared with the Niger Republic.

  • Geographical Features

In Nigeria, the observable or well-known geographical features include the Obudu Plateau, Adamawa highlands, Jos Plateau, Mambilla Plateau, the Niger Delta basin, the Niger River and River Benue.

Types Of Vegetation In Nigeria
  • Climate

Nigeria is situated in the area where the climate is usually the training period and dry season. Nigeria is affected by four climate types. There are always observable features to differentiate these four climates. There are mainly two seasons here which are the rainy/wet season and the dry season. Rainfall is heavy during the rainy season while almost no rain is experienced during the dry season.

Vegetation In Nigeria

Vegetation refers to the plants that can be found in a particular geographical location. These plants are usually determined by the environmental conditions and climate of the area in question. Naturally, their characteristics reflect the climatic conditions in the particular area. Vegetation belts show the clear connection between climate and plants. West to East zonation patterns in Nigeria is characterized by the clear transition between one belt and another. Nigeria currently has two broad belts of vegetation. Nigeria is a country of forests and savannahs. In the past, a large part of the country was covered with dense tropical rainforests. However, constant cutting and burning out of crop plots led to a drastic reduction in the area of forests which now occupy about one-third of the territory. These two broad belts of vegetation are however broken down into smaller belts. A smaller vegetation namely the isolated mountain vegetation of the high plateau regions can also be identified.

Types Of Vegetation In Nigeria

  • Forest Vegetation

Forest vegetation has trees as the most important feature. Forest areas are dominated by trees so whenever you are in an area where trees around, that’s a forest. Nigeria has trees on its coastal South where rainfall is higher, usually above 1600mm per annum. The tropical conditions of the south are favorable for the growth of trees. This broad classification of vegetation can be further subdivided into smaller units based on variations in their nature and the amount of rainfall received which reduces as one moves further upwards towards the north from the coastal areas.

  • 1. Saline Water Swamp

This type of vegetation is limited to the coastal strip of Nigeria. It covers an area less than two kilometers in width. This vegetation type can be found in areas such as Sapele, Lekki, and Badagry. In these areas, the fresh water from rivers meets with the salt water of the sea, forming the brackish swamp. The Saline waters flow into the creeks and lagoons. Various mangrove vegetation in Nigeria is sustained due to the condition of the Saline Water. A very good example of this type of vegetation is the type found in the East of Lagos. The soil in this vegetation is very salty and extremely unsuitable for plant growth. Areas which are stabilized and are non-salt marsh are suitable for rice cultivation.

  • 2. Freshwater Swamp Forest

This type of vegetation can be found further in the inland far beyond tidal waters. Freshwater is abundant in this area. The freshwater is supplied by inland rivers and rainfalls. This area is characterized by sand, mud, and silt materials. States with this type of vegetation include; Cross River, Niger Delta, IMO, Benin and Ogun states. The entire Niger Delta region features this type of vegetation. Freshwater swamp forests areas are easily distinguished by their intense vegetation and network of lagoons and creeks. The raffia palm is a common feature of this vegetation type but in areas where the drainage system is better, bigger trees like Oil palm and iroko can be found.

  • 3. Evergreen Rainforests

This vegetation area is characterized by tall trees. The dominant species found here are climbing plants. The high number of tall trees with the lianas make exploration of these areas very difficult. Liana is usually a woody vine, long-stem that are usually well rooted in the soils and make use of other trees close or in surroundings to reach a very high position in order to access sunlight in the forest area. This vegetation zone can be seen from the Niger-Benin Republic border. This vegetation zone can be seen in the Niger-Benue stretch system of South-West Nigeria.

The tropical evergreen forests are home to a great number of tree species. These trees are classified into the top, middle and lower layers based on the level of the forest where they exist. The lower layer species are the undergrowth vegetation and have the highest density possible. They hardly grow higher than 10m and are prone to destruction by cultivation, clearing and bush burning.  The trees are usually tall and in the middle layer of this vegetation the tree has branches and has an average height of 30m. the largest found in the rainforest is luxuriant. The top layer of trees consists of a great number of plants that grow higher than 30 meters. The biggest trees amongst them are more than 6+0m high.

SAVANNAH

The Savannah is the second biggest type of vegetation found in Nigeria. Savannahs are characterized by grasslands with little or no forest. Therefore, Savannah can be described as grass or under-grass vegetation. There are three major savannahs in Nigeria.

  •   1. Guinea Savannah

This vegetation type is found in the middle of the country. Almost half of the entire land mass of the country is covered by this type of vegetation. The Guinea Savannah features a large mixture of trees and grass. Annual rainfall here is 1000-1400 mm on the average. The trees of this vegetation grow to a great height and provide cover for both large animals and humans to take cover. Groups of trees such as the drought-resistant kaya, Isoberlinia, Mitragina feature here. Some of these trees have their trunks twisted as a result of annual fires. Various species of elephant grass dominate in this area. This vegetation type covers Nigerian states such as Kaduna state, Oyo state, Enugu state, Anambra state, Edo state, and Ondo state.

  • 2. Sudan Savannah

Covering the North-West and almost the entire North of Nigeria and the borders of Niger Republic is the Sudan Savannah. Here, short grass abounds but trees are much fewer than that of the Guinea Savannah. The trees here grow up to a height of about 15m. Precipitation here is between 500-1000 mm per annum with a period of dryness lasting between 6-7 calendar months per year. A distinctive appearance of the landscape is produced by the different types of acacia with an umbellate crown and thorny bushes. Camels graze on young shoots of these bushes, while leaves are used by the local people for preparing the traditional medicine. Some other plants found here are baobabs, palms of doom, the whale, and the whitish acacia which sheds its leaves during the rainy season and grows fresh leaves during the dry season. Its leaves feed animals during the period of dryness. Havana without baobabs. Natural conditions of the Sudan Savannah are favorable for crop cultivation and animal rearing. Herds of sheep, cattle, and goats can be found here grazing on vast pastures.

  • 3. Sahel Savannah

Areas covered by this vegetation type receive little rainfall to support plant growth. Crop cultivation in this vegetation zone is nearly impossible due to the amount of rainfall recover yearly. This type of Savannah is found in the northern belt of the country. The vegetation is characterized by desert. Due to the extremely poor amount of rainfall this area receives yearly, with the rainy season lasting only 3 to 4 months, only tough plants can survive here. The grasses present here are extremely short. Plants such as Acacia raddiana, African myth, Ngibbi, and Leptadenia can be found growing here.

MONTANE VEGETATION

This vegetation type is limited to the high mountain plateau of Nigeria. Due to an average low temperature in Nigeria, the Montane vegetation is not usually well developed which cause a lot of effect in man and Animal. The area is generally covered by grasses but the slopes are covered by forests. It is a very good location for pastures and also for growing different vegetables and small grain crops. Adamawa and Plateau states are the two states in Nigeria where this vegetation type exist.

Importance Of The Different Types Of Vegetation In Nigeria

Forest trees such as Kaya, iroko, Obeche, Opepe are useful in construction and as ornamental pieces. Some of these vegetations such as the Sudan Savannah are very important to herders who rely on grass for the survival of their animals. Palm wine, a locally enjoyed drink is derived from the juice of the wine palm. The leaves of the candelabra-shaped pandanus are used for weaving mats and baskets. Leaves of the raffia palm are used for roofing houses while its trunks are used by rafters. Rafia gives fiber – piassava, used for the manufacture of brushes.

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Conclusion On The Types Of Vegetation In Nigeria

We have written on different types of vegetation in Nigeria and some common trees and other related plants and Animal you can find in this region.

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