Title page                                                                                          i

Certification                                                                                                 ii Dedication                                                                                                    iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                               iv

Table of Contents                                                                        v

List of Tables                                                                                            ix

List of Figures                                                                                          x



1.0       INTRODUCTION                                                                                1

1.1       Background information                                                            1

1.2       Problem statement                                                                  5

1.3       Objectives of the study                                                8

1.4       Research hypothesis                                                                        9

1.5       Justification of the study                                                                           9

1.6       Limitations of the study                                                                  11


2.0      LITERATURE REVIEW                                                                    12

2.1       Definition of concepts                                                                                 12

2.1.1    Gender                                                                                         12

2.1.2    Forest                                                                                                        13

2.1.3    Sustainability                                                                                                   13

2.1.4    Sustainable Forest Management                                                             15

2.1.5   Forest conservation                                                                            16

2.2       Forest resource classification                                                             17

2.3       Benefits derivable from forest resources                                         18

2.3.1    Economic value                                                                                     19

2.3.2    Social benefits                                                                            19

2.3.3    Environmental value                                                                            20

2.4       Gender and forest resource management                          20

2.5       Factors of forest resource management and sustainability     27

2.5.1    Monitoring, enforcement and forest resource sustainability   27

2.5.2    Property rights, security and resource sustainability               28

2.5.3    Biophysical factors and forest resource sustainability            29 2.6  Theoretical framework of the study                            30

2.7       Conceptual framework of the study            33

2.8       Analytical framework of the study                               35        CHAPTER THREE

3.0       RESEARCH METHODOLOGY                                                          39

3.1       Study area                                                                                           39

3.2       Sampling procedure                                                                                     41

3.3       Data collection                                                                                          41

3.4       Data analysis/Analytical techniques                                                         42

3.4.1    Empirical model specification                                                                   42

3.4.2    A priori expectation of the model                                                         43

3.4.3    Likert scale rating                                                                                  46

3.4.4     Hypotheses testing                                                                               47


4.0       RESULTS AND DISCUSSION                                              48

4.1       Forest Ownership and Conservation                                        48

4.1.1    Forest Ownership, Access and Topography                                48

4.1.2    Forest Nature and Ownership Pattern                                 49

4.1.3    Gender and Forest Resource Conservation                            53

4.1.4    Gender and Forest Resource Conservation Strategies             54

4.2       Gender and Forest Resource Management                       55

4.2.1    Gender and Forest Resource Management Practices              55

4.2.2    Rationale for Selecting Management Practices                       57

4.3       Socio-economic and Environmental Attributes of Respondents   58

4.3.1    Age of Respondents                                                                  59

4.3.2    Educational Attainment                                                        59

4.3.3    Marital Status of Respondents                                              61

4.3.4    Farming Experience of Respondents                      61

4.3.5    Occupations of Respondents                                              62

4.3.6    Household Size of Respondents                                            63

4.3.7    Extension Access and Membership of Rural Institutions               64

4.3.8    Gender Barrier in Forest Resource Use                                       65

4.4       Factors Influencing the Adoption of Improved Forest Resources     Conservation Measures                                                         66

4.4.1    Identification of Significant Differences by Gender in their Level of Adoption of Conservation Strategies                                     71

4.5       Gender and Forest Resource Benefit                        77

4.6       Scale Analysis of Perceived Importance of Forest Resource Conservation Factors                            79

4.7       Forest Resource Use and their Constraints                             81

4.7.1    Forest Resources and their Uses                                    81

4.7.2    Gender and Constraints of Forest Resource Use       84



5.1       Summary                                                                             87

5.2       Conclusion                                                                               91

5.3       Recommendations                                                                 91

5.4       Major Contributions to Knowledge                               95

5.4       Areas for Further Research                                              95

            References                                                                                 96       


4.1       Opinion of Respondents as Regards Forest Ownership and Topography    48

4.2       Response of Respondents According to Forest Nature and Ownership Pattern                 49

4.3       Gender Role in Forest Resource Conservation and Management     53

4.4       Frequency Distribution of Respondents According Forest Conservation Strategies                                        54

4.5       Forest Management Practices of Respondents Disaggregated by Gender  55

4.6       Gender Distribution of Reasons for Selecting Management Strategies   58

4.7       Age Distribution of Respondents by Gender       59

4.8       Educational Status of Respondents by Gender        60

4.9       Marital Status of Respondents Disaggregated by Gender       61

4.10     Farming Experience of Respondents by Gender          62

4.11     Occupations of Respondents                             62

4.12     Distribution of Gender According to Household Size            63

4.13     Distribution of Respondents According to Extension Access  Membership of Rural Institution                                                   64

4.14     Respondents Opinion Regarding Gender Barriers in Forest Resource Exploitation                                               65

4.15     Tobit Model Estimate for the Male Farmers                 67

4.16     Tobit Model Estimate for the Female Farmers                  69

4.17     Comparison of the Tobit Estimates for Male and Female Farmers 71

4.18     Tobit Model Estimate for the Male and Female Farmers (Pooled Result) 75

4.19     Z-test Analysis of Level of Adoption Between Male and Female Farmers  77

4.20     Forest Resource Benefit-Sharing (in Naira) Disaggregated by Gender  78

4.21     Likert Scale Result on Scale Analysis of Perceived Importance of Forest Resource Conservation Factors                         80
4.22     Opinions of Respondents Regarding the Use of Forest Resource/Products   81

4.23     Household Energy Sources                                 83

4.24     Response of Gender with Regards to Constraints Encountered in the Exploitation of Forest Resources/Products                           86


Fig. 1   Conceptual Framework of the Study                                               34       

Fig. 2   Forest Nature and Ownership Pattern                                          51

Fig. 3a Forest Management Practices of the Respondents by Gender      56

Fig. 3b Forest Management Practices of the Respondents (Pooled)     57

Fig. 4   Gender and Forest Resource Benefit-Sharing                 79

Fig. 5   Uses of Forest Resources/Products                                           82

Fig. 6a Household Energy Sources (for household Cooking)   84

Fig. 6b Household Energy Sources (for Pressing Clothes)    84

Fig.7    Constraints of Forest Resource Exploitation          85


Forest, which is a major source of resources in Nigeria, is currently facing accelerated degradation and depletion. The growing demand for ecosystem services from forests has led to over-exploitation of the resources, resulting in the extinction of some valuable species. This has continued to impact negatively on the capacity of the forests to mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity, safeguard wildlife, and protect land and watershed. Approaches to forest management in Nigeria have not involved women in their desired perspective, irrespective of their dominant role in collection of forest produce. The influence of gender relationships on access to forests and forest resource management and sustainability has remained a concern to scholars and practitioners. This concern informed the need for this study. The broad objective of this study was to examine the effects of gender on sustainable management of forest resources in Abia State, Nigeria. The specific objectives of the study were to: identify and examine the participation of male and female farmers in the ownership and conservation of forest resources; identify and describe the various forest management practices and to examine the factors influencing the decision of men and women in the adoption of improved forest resource conservation measures. Others include; examine, the level of adoption of forest resource conservation strategies between the male and female farmers; analyze gender distribution of benefits from forest resource exploitation, analyze perceived importance of forest conservation factors among male and female farmers and examine the major constraints militating against forest resource conservation and management. Relevant data for the study were generated mainly through the administration of structured questionnaire to farmers, randomly selected from 6 LGAs. A total of 240 respondents comprising 120 male and 120 female farmers was drawn from the 410,435 farm families in the state. Information collected include socio-economic characteristics of the farmers, environmental and institutional factors, gender access to forest resource benefits and forest resource conservation factors. Data generated were analyzed using percentages, frequencies, likert rating scale and Tobit regression model.The major findings were that: use of improved forest management practices was almost non-existent as against the traditional management practices that were common; female farmers in the study area adopted more improved forest conservation measures than their male counterparts. Tobit regression analysis showed that the coefficient of gender, land ownership, and dependence on forest for income were negative and  significantly (p < 0.05) affected the adoption of improved forest resource conservation practices of the farmers, while credit access and gender discrimination in forest resource exploitation were positive and significant (p < 0.05). The analysis also indicated that forest resource management and conservation is driven by household size, land ownership, credit access, gender discrimination and dependence on forest for income and energy. The study, among others, recommended the pursuit of forestry management plan with emphasis on gender mainstreaming in forest conservation and management; improved extension outreach to forest dependent communities; pursuance of community based training programmes on forest management and conservation, with emphasis on those resources that are facing the risk of depletion/extinction; and the orientation of village heads on their role as custodians of natural resources in their communities.



1.1       Background Information

The contribution of forest to the sustainability of livelihood and environmental quality cannot be overemphasized. Forest resources, namely woodland, shrub land, bush fallow and farm bush and trees on farms, as well as ecosystem dominated by trees (Arnold, 1998), provide households with income, ensure food security, reduce their vulnerability to shocks and adversities and promote their wellbeing. Indeed, forest environment and the diversity of life, which they harbour, represent an irreplaceable asset to the biosphere and mankind. Ecologically, their function is unquestionable as they provide two-thirds of the net primary productivity of all terrestrial ecosystems, of which our priceless tropical forest account for about sixty percent (Adegboye, 1992). The rich flora and fauna found in the forest meet the subsistence need of the numerous communities especially those living in the vicinity of the forest (Kailsha, 1993).

Globally, forest resources have been a source of subsistence to millions of people throughout the evolutionary history of our species. Different parts of the forest plants, such as leaf, flower, fruit, seed, twig, pod, stem, root, tuber, bark and exudates and whole plant are used for various purposes. Forests not only provide food, fibre and fuelwood but also supply household articles, construction materials and ornamentals to mankind (Adegboye, 1992, Adger and Brown, 1994; Louis, 1993; Kailsha, 1993; Odoemena, 2006). Forest hard wood has been a source of hard currencies, fuel wood and security for the poor. In fact, research on non-farm rural employment and income shows that small scale production and trading activities in forest products constitute one of the largest parts of rural non-farm enterprise employment (Liedholm and Mead, 1993). It is in acknowledgement of the importance of forest resources for livelihood and environmental stability that its conservation and hence sustainable management has been included in the millennium development goals of the United Nations. In Nigeria, poverty has led to the dependence of over 90% of the rural population on forest for livelihood and economic survival (United Nations, 2002; Chukwuone, 2008).

Again, forests play a profound role in the maintenance of soil fertility. Forest leaves and branches of trees cover the top soil, thereby intercepting heavy down pours of rainfall and high velocity moving wind which would have eroded the soil, thereby rendering it less fertile and unproductive. Similarly, dead and decaying portions of forest trees improve the soil texture and structure thus increasing the water infiltration capacity of the soil and thereby enhancing nutrient recycling.

However, for man to continue to derive these benefits, forests and their abundant resources must be well protected against over exploitation. Unfortunately, this is not so. The over – exploitation of forest resources by both genders represents one of the greatest forces in global environmental degradation (Cock and Kock, 1991; GEO, 2000). Although the net loss of forest is slowing down, deforestation and forest degradation remains an on-going phenomenon, especially in tropical regions.

Forest resources have continued to provide off-farm employment to a large segment of the rural populace and account for enormous share of household income. For instance, in 1996 in Southeastern Nigeria, 35.7% of the rural population collected non timber forest products (NTFPs) daily and it accounted for 94% of total income from minor sources (Nweze and Igbokwe, 2000). Similarly, Bisong and Ajake (2001) discovered that women in southern Nigeria depend heavily on non-wood forest products (NWFPs). In fact, many Nigerians depend on forest resources for food, fibre and herbal medicines (Chukwuone, 2008).

 The growing demand for ecosystem services from forests, calls for a strategic approach to optimize the capacity of forests to mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity, safeguard wildlife and protect land and watershed (FAO, 2005). This has to do with the adoption of sustainable forest management. The forest principle states that to achieve sustainable forest management forest resources and forest lands should be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual human needs of the present and future generation (FAO, 2005).

Sustainable management of these resources will help guarantee the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs. One of the cardinal means of ensuring sustainability in forest resources is the application of FAO strategy for sustainable management of forests and trees. This calls for   increase involvement of forest stakeholders particularly women in policy- making and legislation, to enhance the contribution of forests to livelihoods, and to make forestry, a more economically viable land-use option. Indigenous knowledge of the local people, both male and female gender, especially as it pertains to the use of the forest resources is a key issue in resource conservation and sustainability (Osemeobo and Ujor, 1999).

Women are critical actors in the management of forest resources. Their participation in sustainable forestry management is conditioned by their levels of forest dependence, the biophysical quality of the forest, their age, wealth levels, caste, or ethnicity (Davidson-Hunt,1996; Nuggehalli and Prokopy, (2009). As the main and most frequent collectors of forest products, women are more familiar with the forest than men (Agarwal, 1997). Moreover, they are more burdened than men by deteriorating forest conditions and have a tendency to conserve and to reduce pressure on forest resources in order to mitigate hardship. Men are largely involved in timber extraction unlike women who use products such as firewood, non-timber forest products (NTFP),that demand more frequent interaction with the forests (Pandofelli, Meinzen-Dick and Dohrn, 2009). Women adopt environmentally friendly farming system practices such as terracing and taungya cultivation of fodder trees and campaign against free grazing in community forests, practices which lower pressures on forests (Gbadegesin, 1996; Acharya and Gentle, 2006).

However, Jackson (1993) and Mackenzie (1995) cautioned against assuming a necessary and complementary relationship between women and sustainability because they may be constrained by the existing structure of disincentives such as limited control over land, labour and technology. Also, women under some settings may prefer not to engage in forest management activities either because of wealth or because they view land-based activities as backward (Jewitt, 2000; and Reurreccion, 2006).  

Similarly, Chukwuone (2008) submits that conservation initiative, which is an aspect of sustainable management, will be more successful if the indigenous people assume active roles. This is based on the advantages that can be gained by drawing on their indigenous knowledge of the forest resources and by building on the sustainable systems of use that the local people, especially the male and female categories seem to have created (Redford and Mansour, 1996). Participatory forest resource management is often seen as an appropriate solution to reducing resource degradation and it is generally assumed that granting property rights over to local commons would ensure the equitable and sustainable use and management of environmental resources. Through local participation, nearby communities would be engaged as stakeholders in managing the resources thus ensuring their commitment to long-term management goals (FAO, 1995).

However, the management of forest resources in Nigeria, especially national parks and forest reserves are in the hands of government and local participation is limited. (Forest reserves are areas set aside by state governments for the protection of timber, NWFPs, fuel wood and other forest resources in their domains). In principle, local people own forests but the management and control of forest resources are vested in the state governments. In fact, the first Forestry Act enacted in 1937, established the forest reserve system under the state government.