MEANING OF VEGETATION
Vegetation is the plant cover of the earth surface; it is in form of trees, shrubs, grasses and legumes.
Nigerian Vegetation is made up of three types, there are:
- Forest vegetation (possesses significant tree cover)
- Savanna vegetation (possesses insignificant tree cover, it has scattered trees with grasses in between)
- Montana vegetation (found in mountain areas with high proportion of grasses).
FOREST VEGETATION: Forest vegetation is made up of tall trees with aerial and buttress roots, the vegetation is evergreen
TYPES OF FOREST VEGETATION
- Mangrove Swamp Forest: It is found in the delta and coastal parts of Nigeria such as Port Harcourt, Warri, Uyo and Calabar.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SWAMP FOREST
- It has tall, woody trees
- It has aerial roots
- It has evergreen trees with a broad leaves
- Trees found include white mangrove and red mangrove
- Rain forest: it is found in the southern parts of Nigeria such as Benin, Sapele, Akure, Ibadan Abeokuta e.t.c.
CHARACTERISTIC OF RAIN FOREST
- It has tall trees with buttress roots evergreen and broad leaves
- Trees exists in different heights; these are bottom, middle and upper layers
- Presence of climbers, creepers, epiphytes and parasitic plants
- It has numerous heterogenous spicies of trees such as Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany and African walnut
SAVANNA VEGETATION: Savanna means grasslands, the savanna vegetation in Nigeria is divided into; Guinea Savanna, Sudan Savanna and Sahel Savanna.
- Guinea Savanna: This is found in Enugu, Lokoja, Ilorin, Markudi, Osogbo, etc.
CHARATERISTICS OF GUINEA SAVANNA
- It consist of tall grasses and few scattered trees
- The trees are deciduous
- The trees have tiny leaves to reduce transpiration
- Grasses are green during rainy season and turn brown in the dry season
- The trees found in these areas are: Oil palm, dum palm, shea butter, Isoberlina etc
- It is the largest of all vegetation belts in Nigeria
- Sudan Savanna: This vegetation belt is found in Sokoto, Kastina, Kaduna, Kano, Dutse, Bauchi, etc.
CHARATERISTICS OF SUDAN SAVANNA
- It has short numerous grasses
- Presence of scattered and short deciduous trees
- Some trees have thorns while others have thick barks
- Plant species includes acacia, date palm, silk cotton plants, baobab
- Sahel Savanna: This is found in Maduguri and Damaturu (north belt of the country)
CHARACTERISTICS OF SAHEL SAVANNA
- It has short scanty grasses
- Presence of short and tough shrub/trees
- Grasses are fewer, poorer and in patches
- It has many drought resistant and scatterd plants
- Plant spicies are acacia, gum Arabic, date palm and baobab
- Sparse rainfall discouraging cultivation of crops.
4. MONTANE VEGETATION: This is found in highlands areas like Jos and Adamawa with high population of grasses.
CHARACTERISTICS OF MONTANE VEGETATION
- It is associated with highland areas
- It has varied trees at its windward (facing the wind) side.
- It has grasses at its leeward (sheltered from the wind) side.
- Presence of short, scattered and deciduous trees.
- It is highly populated with grasses.
IMPORTANCE OF VEGATATION
- It serves as a source of food
- Timbers are obtained from the forest
- Leaves and grass are used in roofing
- Roots, barks and leaves are used for medicinal purpose
- Sources of raw materials for industries
- Provision of sites for tourism
- Source of employment for hunters, lumbermen, forest officers, etc.