Local Communities and Sustainable Management in Maladumba Lake and Forest Reserve Nigeria
Common failures in resolving multiple use conflicts are attributed to the inability of institutions to recognize and incorporate people-s perceptions towards the resource. This study aims to determine the local communities- perceptions and factors influencing their perceptions towards Maladumba Lake and Forest Reserve and its sustainable management. One hundred questionnaires were distributed to systematically selected householders situated near the MLFR. Correlation analysis determined the factors influencing the householder-s perception. Results showed that attitudes, income and willingness to manage resources affect the local communities- perception (p<0.5). Results also showed that most respondents recognized that the condition of the MLFR is deteriorating due to anthropogenic activities and each individual can play a role to sustainably manage the environment.
February 25, 2012; Accepted: March 05, 2012;
Published: May 14, 2012
Maladumba Lake and forest reserve is located in the Maladumba area, approximately
18 km SW of Misau and 2 km east of Shelon village, an immigrant fishing community,
in the Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi State (Abdullahi
and Ibrahim, 2008). It is approximately 120 km northeast of Bauchi town.
The Lake is a natural, shallow (
2 m) depression lake, situated in a structurally-guided long, counter clockwise
and clockwise semi-circular channel occupied by the River Kuka that drains into
the lake and River Kari that partially drains the lake during high water. The
lake is undergoing accelerated siltation (Ayeni, 2007).
MLFR lies on sedimentary rocks of the Kerri Kerri Formation. The Formation comprises
lacustrine and deltaic-type sediments of Paleocene age deposited on the Basement
Complex to a thickness of up to 200 m. The formation is predominantly arenaceous,
consisting of loosely cemented sands and grits, clayey sandstones, massive clays
and silts. Bands of ironstone and conglomerate occur locally. The Formation
thins towards its surface unconformity with the Basement Complex in the area
west of the lake. In this area, the River Jimin, the main tributary of the Kari,
has incised through the formation to flow on crystalline rocks of the Basement
Complex. The soils in the area are deep sandy clay and loamy sands (Ayeni,
The climate is the Sudan type, with two distinct seasons, a short (May-September) wet season and a longer (October-April) dry season. Mean annual rainfall is 800 mm with a unimodal distribution during the rainy season. The peak of the season is between July and August. Rainfall is usually stormy and with high intensity. Mean temperatures range from 26°C during the harmattan to 34°C during the hot month of April and May. The dry season is dominated by dusty, north easterly Harmattan winds.
The MLFR is endowed in natural resources providing numerous uses and benefits
for multiple users (Abdullahi and Ibrahim, 2008). At
present, it is continuously meeting the needs of numerous sectors of society
particularly as a source of animal watering point, fishing and fuel wood supply
(Abdullahi et al., 2010). Studies have stressed
that conflicts arising from multiple users contribute to the diminishing of
the resources and the deterioration of the environment worldwide (Hough,
1988). There is a widespread awareness on the continuous deterioration of
the quality of MLFR and this has created a crucial interest to protect and sustainably
manage the resource not just for the benefits that we derived from it but on
the benefits it provides us in maintaining the integrity of the ecological processes
of the environment (Abdullahi and Ibrahim, 2008). The
various levels of government have continuously introduced programs and legislative
measures to protect the lake but the situation brought about by the conflicts
of multiple uses has virtually created daunting challenges towards the success
of the measures and in the protection of the lakes condition. Studsrod
and Wegge (1995) have identified that the common failure in most legislative
approaches have been brought about by the inability of institutions to recognize
and incorporate the perspectives and insights of the users themselves like the
local communities depending on the resource. The success of resolving the issues
and concerns governing the environment depends on how well the local communities
themselves view the environment and its complex processes and on how greatly
they are involved in managing it (McNeely, 1994). The
conflicts arising from multiple users have always been a principal management
problem faced by most communities (Hough, 1988; Heinen,
1993). Studies have indicated that the evident causes resulting to these
conflicts starts from the actual use and attitudes of people particularly towards
the environment (Nepal and Weber, 1995; Abdullahi
et al., 2007). People commonly engage in activities that threaten
the environment because of the want of maximizing the immediate economic benefits
withstanding the potential costs it may incur to the environment (McNeely,
1994). This study provides benchmark information on the perceptions of the
local community particularly the users depending on the resources of the protected
area. The study also aims to assess the possible influences that may affect
the local communities perception towards the sustainable use of the resources
of the protected area. The findings from this work may be useful to decision
makers particularly in developing policies and programs that will help meet
and be responsive to the changing times and needs of the users.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Five out of the ten Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Project
(LEEMP) communities were randomly selected through the use of rolling identical
pieces of paper with the name of each community in it and then drawing the names
after the pieces of paper had been thoroughly mixed (Otite
and Ogionwo, 2006). A survey instrument, utilizing structured and open ended
questions was developed and pre-tested. The use of the structured and combined
open-ended questions helps to explore the demographic profile of the respondents,
the perceptions and pertinent issues and new insights from the local community
pertaining to the MLFR. The self-administered questionnaire is used to preserve
anonymity and ease in convincing the local community to answer the questions.
The respondents answers cannot be validated and the limited questions
in the survey instrument are the identified limitations to the study. The pre-tested
questionnaire was administered in a systematic passion from one household to
every 5th household thereafter (Abdullahi et al.,
2007). The factors (age, gender, location of community, income, attitude
towards the lake and the willingness to be involved in conservation efforts)
were identified as the independent factors and the perception towards MLFR was
identified as the dependent factor (Shrestha and Alavalapati,
2006). A correlation analysis was used to determine the factors correlated
with the perceptions of the local community towards the MLFR. The Spearmans
correlation analysis was used for the nonparametric data and the Pearson correlation
analysis for the parametric data. Results yielding a p value of 0.10 were significant
(Causton, 1988). All statistical analysis was performed
using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. The required
data and information were collected from a direct field study based on the results
of 100 questionnaires that were administered in the selected communities. Information
collected for this study is generally qualitative, based on field observation,
household survey and informal discussion with key informants conducted in December
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Socio-economic characteristics of respondents: The main socio-economic variables of the sampled households are summarized in Table 1. The farm sizes in the study area are small in scale given the average size of 2.4 acres per household. It should also be noted that the main method of acquisition of land in the study area is through inheritance from the parents. Over 90% of the household heads indicated that they inherited their land from their parents. Therefore, land sizes are bound to continue declining in the foreseen future and given that most of the people (over 90%) are involved in farming as their main occupation (Table 1) then it can be argued that there will be increased pressure on land to meet food needs of the people. The increasing pressure on land does not augur well with the conservation efforts of the forest because forest will definitely be one of the immediate alternatives for the people.
An average of less than one years of formal education means that most farmers do not have any education beyond the elementary level while some do not have any formal education at all. Therefore they have limited opportunities to get employed in the non-farm sector or to successfully run commercial enterprises. This is clearly supported by the observation that over 90% of the respondents are involved in farming as their main occupation (Table 2). On average, the sampled farmers reside within 2 km radius of the reserve which is a walking distance. The closer to the reserve the people are the more the likelihood that they extract from it. This has significant implication on the ease with which the local people can access the reserve and consequently extract or over-extract from it.
All the questionnaires for the present study were returned. The householders
surveyed were males (99%) than females (1%). The age of the respondents ranged
from 18-98 years. The mean (±SD) age of respondents was 33±17
|| Socio-economic characteristics of the households
|The average number of years of education for the household
heads in the area was relatively low
|| Respondents questionnaire responses
A number of the respondents (30.1%) have annual incomes ranging from a minimum
of N50, 000 to a maximum of N200, 000. Only about 8% of respondents had annual
incomes more than N200, 000. Almost all of the respondents were married (97%)
than singles (3%) in the study. The survey indicated that a good number of the
local community (41%) perceived that the condition of the MLFR is deteriorating,
while 34% perceived it to have historic and aesthetic value, 22% perceived it
to be a good source of livelihood by supporting human and livestock development
and 3% gave no perceptions towards the MLFR. The majority of the local community
(86.2%) surveyed stated that they viewed the MLFR to be an important resource
and felt positively on the numerous benefits it provides to the local livelihood.
These respondents identified that there are multiple uses provided by it. The
common uses viewed by the respondents towards MLFR include a good source of
livelihood, water supply and fuel wood (29%), for different consumption uses
(21%), for livelihood only (4%) and source of livelihood and protein (21%).
Among those respondents who had negative views towards MLFR, 13.8% had indicated
that its condition is deteriorating and hence it poses a threat to local livelihood.
All the respondents of the study recognized that the MLFR is deteriorating because
of anthropogenic activities. Majority (52%) acknowledged that the condition
of the MLFR is deteriorating due to irrigation activities associated with dry
season farming. About 36% of respondents specified that the problem is contributed
by the activities of Fulani herders and commercial fuel wood collectors (22%).
All the respondents have indicated that their perception towards the lake is
shaped by influences. A number (36.4%) of respondents had indicated that the
physical condition of the reserve that includes the water discoloration, felling
of trees, particularly juveniles and restriction on fishing permits influence
their erception towards the reserve. Respondents were asked regarding their
views towards the forest if it was deteriorating. A number of respondents (51%)
viewed that the indiscriminate felling of trees contributes to the deterioration
of the environment. About 31% of respondents perceived that if the forest were
deteriorating, a number of individuals would suffer, as it can no longer provide
the general publics basic necessities. About 18% of respondents sights
that the worsening condition of the lake will result to a decline on the fishes
and aquatic organisms. Majority of the respondents (94.2%) specified that the
continuous deterioration of the forest and the lake creates an immense problem
and there is a need to protect and manage it. Respondents (34%) indicated that
there is a need for government agencies to be actively involved particularly
in monitoring and implementing the laws and ordinances and the imposition of
a support to provide programs for the sustainable utilization of the resource
(31%). Respondents (27%) likewise indicated that instituting and implementing
environmental management measures could help in sustainably managing the forest
reserve and the lake. Respondents (6%) also stated that they themselves could
help contribute in the protection of the resource by donating money and paying
their appropriate taxes to help conserve, manage and protect the resource for
the succeeding years. The factors influencing the frame of reference of the
perceptions of the respondents towards the reserve is significantly correlated
by their attitudes towards the resource, respondents income and their
willingness to be involved in environmental efforts (p<0.5) (Table
3). This study does not negate the possibility that other factors may significantly
influence the perceptions of respondents towards the resources of the area.
This study was cross-sectional and its scope was limited to householders living
near and away from the reserve.
The findings of the study showed that majority of the householders surveyed
recognize the importance of the reserve because of the multiple uses it provides
however, it is constantly threatened by anthropogenic activities. Result of
the study did indicate that the householders perceived the reserve as continuously
deteriorating due to human activities brought about by both indiscriminate wood
felling and unlawful fishing activity. Similar findings support the results
of this study as Ayeni (2007) indicates that the condition
of the reserve is greatly deteriorating due the activities of Man. Results of
the study showed that generally the perceptions of the respondents are shaped
by their experience over the years and is influenced by various factors as shown
elsewhere (Shrestha and Alavalapati, 2006; Gadd,
2005; Abdullahi et al., 2008).
|| Factors related to the public perceptions of the local communities
towards Maladumba Lake and Forest Reserve
|*Significant at p<0.5, NS: Not significant
This study also presents that the factors: attitudes, income and the willingness
to be involved in environmental efforts and decisions were significantly correlated
to the respondents perception towards the MLFR. This study does not foreclose
the possibility that other factors may significantly shape peoples perception.
Their willingness to be involved in environmental efforts has shown varying
influences in the perception of the MLFR. In a similar study by Abdullahi
et al. (2008), it discusses how peoples value of a resource
can have significant implications on their perceptions and on how they want
the resources managed. The positive attitudes towards MLFR exhibited by the
respondents surveyed also helped shaped the local communitys perception.
Grob (1995) indicated that attitudes encompass the affective,
behavioral and cognitive responses that may influence the frame of references
of what peoples perceptions are and the concerns people give. Material
affluence was also demonstrated to influence the perception of the respondents
(Shrestha and Alavalapati, 2006). People with higher
incomes showed better understanding of the activities surrounding the MLFR.
A similar study (Gadd, 2005) presented that peoples
perception regarding the environment are highly differentiated among the community
members based on their socioeconomic status. Studies (Shrestha
and Alavalapati, 2006; Abdullahi et al., 2008),
suggested that wealthier people are more likely to be understandable and amenable
to the holistic approach of resource management.
This study presents that MLFR is an important resource providing numerous uses
for the local community. Common benefits recognized by the respondents include
a source of livelihood, water supply and animal watering point, protein supplement
and food source. The multiple uses of the reserve recognize an immense threat
that continuously deteriorates the condition of the resource. The study indicated
that majority of the respondents presented that the reason for the deteriorating
condition of the MLFR is brought about by indiscriminate felling of trees; un
regulated fishing and irrigation activities. A number of respondents recognized
that their physical experience with the reserve influence their perceptions
towards it. The study also presented that there is a need to protect and manage
the reserve for the benefit of present and future generations. The study recognizes
that the government and the community need to be involved particularly in safeguarding
the fragile ecosystem because numerous individuals and organisms depend on it.
The study indicates that each one of us can partake or contribute in improving
and mitigating the present conditions of the reserve. The study also acknowledges
that local peoples perceptions towards reserve are shaped by significant
influences like attitudes, income and the willingness to be involved in policies
about the general environmental condition of the area. The conflict arising
from the multiple uses of the environment is an immense problem that needs to
be resolved because of its impacts towards the environment and on peoples
lives. Considerable approaches are introduced to mitigate the impacts arising
from these conflicts, for example, the governments at all levels spend to implement
measures to protect and manage the environment, yet these measures remain unsuccessful
in remedying the problem raised by these conflicts and in the attainment of
sustainability. There is therefore, the need to look into interventions that
integrates the perspectives of the local stakeholders particularly in resolving
issues arising from the conflict use of the environment. These measures must
recognize and build on what the local people find important. The value of creating
a shared understanding of what is important and what they value from their environment
creates an important foundation for future researches, programs and policies
that scientists, policy makers and even resource managers need consider. Surveys
that integrate resource inventories with information on how people view and
value these resources and the environment can help improve the conservation
efforts being advocated and implemented.
There is also a need to develop longitudinal studies that will anticipate what policies might achieve sustainability particularly in managing the local environment. There is further a need to consider what possible factors may significantly shape local peoples relations on the environment, perception and on how these may all affect the status and the sustainability of resource use and management. This calls for moving from substance to process in environmental management where local people would be involved in decision making process on matters of resource conservation in their areas.
I sincerely wish to acknowledge my profound gratitude to the Management of Maladumba Lake and forest reserve, the leadership of the communities and respondents for sparing their time for the present study.
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