Nigeria map

Nigeria has a varied landscape. The area near the border with Cameroon is rich rainforest and an important centre for biodiversity. The areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River State, also in this forest, are believed to contain the world's largest diversity of butterflies. The area of southern Nigeria between the Niger and the Cross Rivers has lost most of its forest because of development and harvesting by increased population, with it being replaced by grassland. In 2005 Nigeria had the highest rate of deforestation in the world. Between 1990 and 2000, Nigeria lost an average of 409,700 hectares of forest every year, equal to an average annual deforestation rate of 2.38%. Between 1990 and 2005, in total Nigeria lost 35.7% of its forest cover, or around 6,145,000 hectares. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
91,077,000 hectares
Area of forest
7.7% of land area
Area of agriculture
77.7% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
7.1% of land area


182.2 million
Population growth
2.6% annually
Rural population

Economics and development

GDP from agriculture
GDP per person
2640.30 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
0.60 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
Bonn Challenge Commitments
Goal year
Date committed
Area committed
4,000,000 hectares
Potential economic benefit
1,256 million USD
Potential climate benefit
0.38 GtCO2 sequestered

At the UNFCCC COP23 in November 2017, Mrs. Halima Bawa-Bwari, Deputy Director, Climate Change Department, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria, announced a pledge of 4 million hectares to the Bonn Challenge and AFR100, which will help the country reach its goals of achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030 and fulfil its NDC commitment by 2030.

National Restoration Targets
Total restoration target
30,036,539 hectares
Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) – FCPF
REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal: Federal Republic of Nigeria (2014)
  • Annex 2b: REDD+ Strategy Options (p. 165)
    • Encourage agroforestry
    • Commercial forest plantations to buffer wood needed by industry
    • Community wood lots
    • Support Forest Protection and Restoration
REDD+ Strategy
REDD+ Strategy
  • Pilot in Cross River State in Nigeria is in development
National Forest and/or Climate Strategy and/or Low Carbon Development Strategy
Restoration target
29,974,539 hectares
Federal Ministry of Environment: Forestry
  • Vision: To ensure that 25% of the total land area of Nigeria is brought under sustainably managed forest cover aimed at producing forest resources (flora and fauna) in perpetuity and foster environmental stability.
National Forestry Policy (2006)
  • Forest Management Objectives (p. 26-27):
    • Increase the total area under sustainable forest management to 25% of the nation’s land area.
    • Develop principles, criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of forest resources. 
    • Engender protection of the environment for social and economic benefits. 
  • National Tree Planting Campaign Objectives (p. 57-58):
    • To conserve and protect the environment
    • To produce raw materials for forest based industries.
    • To create awareness on the effects of deforestation, erosion, desertification and the need to plant more trees. 
    • To massively re-vegetate the environment 
  • Drought and Desertification Control (p.59-60):
    • Objectives:
      • Reduce the rate of desertification in the country
      • Mitigate the adverse effects of Drought and Desertification
    • Embark on aggressive afforestation scheme in the affected and threatened ecological zones, using drought resistant indigenous and exotic tree species.
    • Develop an appropriate integrated land use plan in the affected ecological zones, which should emphasize the establishment of Grazing Reserves to reduce wanton destruction of vegetation by humans and animals. Necessary steps would be taken to ensure sustainable management of the Grazing Reserves to reduce out- migration
    • Support the development and appropriate management of forest resources in the buffer areas and fringe zones 
Nigeria's National Agenda 21 (1999)
  • A result of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 3-14, 1992, Agenda 21 ... expresses a new thinking about sustainable development which calls for political commitments at the highest level and a global consensus on the need for extensive cooperation with respect to the environment and development issues.
National Policy on Environment (1999)
  • Biodiversity and Natural Resources (p. 19-22):
    • Sustainable management of biodiversity will receive special attention to minimize loss and reflect the full cost of biodiversity in economic accounting. The following strategies will be pursued:
      • Promote sustainable agro-ecosystems without compromising natural ecosystems
      • Support the integration of biodiversity conservation objectives in sectoral policies, programmes, strategies, regulations and educational programmes at all levels 
      • Take the full economic and social costs and benefits of biodiversity into account when converting land to agriculture and urban systems
      • Restore and rehabilitate degraded ecosystems 
      • Ensure that development takes cognisance of essential ecological processes and life support systems 
      • Identify valuable areas of biodiversity, particularly outside of protected areas, and in consultation with local communities, explore means of protecting such areas 
  • Land Use and Soil Conservation (p. 24-25):
    • Most development activities take place on or in relation to land. It is important to integrate into land based development activities, the interactions and consumption of other environmental resources for optimal utilization and management. This process requires coordinated and harmonized land use practices at all levels of government, social and economic activity. Additionally routine assessment of the drawdown on other resources such as water, air and biota should be carried out. Accordingly, suitable strategies will be adopted to encourage the: 
      • Expansion of protected area system to meet IUCN requirements as reserves and parks for conservation purposes 
      • Promotion of afforestation and reforestation programmes including community based agro forestry for soil improvement 
      • Development of land use techniques which ensure sustainable land utilization 
      • Develop and implement a national programme to rehabilitate degraded land 
Great Green Wall Project
  • The Great Green Wall Project is implemented in eleven frontline States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno. It will cover 43 LGAs in the frontline states to be covered to rehabilitate 225,000 Ha of lands.
Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative: National Strategic Action Plan (2012)
  • Major Programmes Identified for the implementation of GGWSSI in Nigeria (p. 48):
    • Improving land management through ecological and ecosystems restoration and rehabilitation for enhanced resilience and sustainability of livelihoods.
      • Projects:
        • Land rehabilitation and restoration through soil and water conservation  
          • Budget: $10 million
        • Rehabilitation and development of forest resilient landscape (e.g. shelterbelts, wood lots, wind breaks) 
          • Budget: $20 million
        • Soil conservation and erosion control for poverty reduction 
          • Budget: $10 million
        • Rehabilitation of pasturelands and improving livestock performance 
          • Budget: $10 million
        • Rehabilitation of degraded lands in the Lake Chad Basin 
          • Budget: $10 million
    • Sustainable Land Management for Improved Agriculture and Food Security 
      • Programs:
        • Sustainable Land Management for Improved Agriculture and Food Security 
          • Budget: $10 million
    • Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) 
      • Programs: 
        • Water harvesting for afforestation and agricultural development 
          • Budget: $10 million
National Council on Shelterbelt and Afforestation (2013)
  • Reinvigorated in February 2013 with a $52 million budget
  • To support the Great Green Wall programme that has fallen behind schedule
Nigeria Vision 20:2020 (2009)
  • Preserve the environment for sustainable socio-economic development (p. 83):
    • Prevent further loss of bio-diversity and restore already degraded areas and protect ecologically sensitive sites
    • Promotion of sustained afforestation and reforestation programmes to correct the effects of environmentally unfriendly agricultural practices such as land clearing, nutrient mining, excessive irrigation water supply, inappropriate use of agrochemicals and fertilisers. This initiative is targeted at increasing the forest cover from 6% in 2008 to 12% in 2015 and 18% in 2020
Report of the Vision 2020 National Technical Working Group On Environment and Sustainable Development (2009)
  • Nigeria aims to be a nation that has a healthy environment for sustainable socio-economic development. The objectives are to (p. 10-12): 
    • Prevent further loss of biodiversity and restore already degraded areas and protect ecologically sensitive sites ​​​​​​ 
    • Halt land degradation, rehabilitate degraded areas, combat desertification and mitigate impacts of the droughts 
    • Increasing forest cover from the present 6% to at least 12% of the landmass by 2015 and 15% by 2020 
    • Establishing at least 1500km of green belt to slow the advance of the Sahara Desert, enhance environmental sustainability and control land degradation  
    • Rehabilitating at least 20% of the degraded lands by 2015 and at least 50% by 2020 for poverty reduction and job creation 
  • Sustainable management of natural resources (p. 12):
    • Implement massive A/R programs 
    • Promoting agro forestry initiatives and community woodlots 
    • Restoring at least 60,000 hectares of oil-degraded and/ or alien species-invaded mangroves by 2015 and 130,000 hectares by 2020
  • Establish in every state (36) at least 500 ha plantation forest (2015) and 1,000 ha by 2020 (p. 76)
Report of the Vision 2020 National Technical Working Group On Agriculture & Food Security (2009)
  • Goals/Targets: 
    • Increase area of land planted with diversified biomass including economic species in agro-forestry program from current 3% to 10% in 2015 and to 20% by 2020 (p. 43-44)
      • Strategies: Aggressive pursuit of afforestation, re-afforestation and erosion control programs
      • Initiatives: 
        • Promote planting of fast growing, drought and disease resistant tree species adapted to different ecological zones
        • Complete the establishment of gazetted forest and grazing reserves by 2015
Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects
Restoration target
62,000 hectares
4907: Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) (2012 – duration 72 months)
  • 12,000 hectares in sites/sub-watersheds of targeted land treated for erosion with selected measures in targeted sub-watersheds, including site-specific combinations of the following: 
    • Grassing of embankments and gully slopes 
    • Planting bamboos, elephant grass, vetiver, etc inside gullies 
    • Natural regeneration of vegetation/forest
  • Finance: $0 grant + $340,230,000 co-financing = $340,230,000
5745: Sustainable Fuelwood Management in Nigeria (2014 – duration 60 months)
  • 50,000 ha forestlands under improved SFM for community-based sustainable fuelwood production (p. 1)
  • Finance: $4,410,000 grant + $15,900,000 co-financing = $20,310,000
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