Deforestation, Food Security and Environmental Sustainability in Southwest, Nigeria, 1960-2015
Abstract The forest region of Nigeria—especially the south-western agrarian, and other non-farming communities has witnessed ruthless deforestation either for urbanization or other consumerist purposes, since the past few decades. This constitutes a major challenge in the drive towards achieving sustainable food production from the agrarian areas as well as environmental sustainability. Deforestation is a major threat to the ecosystem and agricultural activities in Nigeria. This article examines the relationship between deforestation, food insecurity and environmental sustainability in South-western Nigeria. Social, economic and environmental historians in Nigeria have overlooked the impact of the phenomenon on food security and environmental sustainability in Nigeria. The study adopts the historical methodology and uses the vent-for surplus theory to show that food insecurity, substandard human quality of life, low life expectancy, epidemics and changes in the biodiversity in southwest Nigeria are results of deforestation and environmental mismanagement. The paper recommends that reducing the growing de-agrarianization, food shortage, and environmental challenges in Nigeria, requires the need to reinvent the wheel by strengthening institutional regulations, including non-state agencies monitoring the use of the environment and conservation of biodiversity. Traditional environmental protection mechanisms, such as taboos, myths, superstitions may also help to reduce the alarming rate of environmental mismanagement.