Deforestation in Nigeria:
The Pressures at the Grassroots Level
Assessment of the forest estate of Nigeria is easier now than in the past be- cause of the data and information derivable from the vegetation and land-use mapping projects carried out in Nigeria in the last three decades. These stud- ies are being coordinated by the Forestry Management, Evaluation and Coor- dinating Unit of the Federal Department of Forestry. The Federal Department of Forestry executed the Nigerian Institute of Research and Development (NIRAD) project, which provided the first ever nationwide coverage of Ni- geria with radar, on the basis of which the first vegetation and land-use clas- sification and mapping of Nigeria was carried out in 1976-1978. That project, as valuable as it was, did not provide a firm basis for vegetation and land-use change detection and monitoring due to the poorly defined classification and mapping units that varied widely from map to map and from one part of the country to another. A later study instituted by FORMECU in collaboration with Geomatics International Consult is very useful because it involved not only the production of vegetation and land-use maps for 1995, but also the creation of new vegetation and land-use maps for 1976 through an analysis of radar and Landsat MSS scenes. A comparison of the two sets of maps makes it possible to assess the magnitude and rate of vegetation and land-use change throughout the country.
Access to satellite imagery of various types has facilitated the mapping and analysis of Nigeria's vegetation cover. A normalized vegetation index map of