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Survey of terrestrial vertebrate fauna (mammals, reptiles and birds) and degradation indicators of forest reserve in North-central, Nigeria

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Wildlife and Range Management, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria

Res. J. Agriculture & Forestry Sci., Volume 9, Issue (3), Pages 12-18, July,8 (2021)


Habitat losses occasioned by vegetation degradation in forest structure had negatively impacted on fauna existence and survival. Field survey, questionnaire’s, in-depth interview with hunters and village heads was adopted to determine fauna species list and forest degradation processes and indicators. Descriptive statistics was used for the analysis. Overall, 33 vertebrates species belonging to 27 families were recorded. Among the vertebrates species recorded based on abundance index; Crocuta crocuta, Syncerus caffer, Ourebia ourebi, Naja nigricollis were very rare in the study area. Only Tragelaphus scriptus was uncommon, while many of the species were common especially the class aves. Major forest degradation processes were; land clearing for farming (40.0%), logging/fire wood collections (25.0%) and sand excavation with (20.0%). More so, major degradation indicators identified were; reduced vegetation cover/composition (45.0%), loss of wild animals (20.0%) and soil erosion/land fragmentation with (18.0%). Loss in vegetation cover resulted to increase bare soil, which led to gullies formation and consequently decline in soil fertility. The most dominants woody stumps based on high utilization indicated were; Tectona grandis (18.8%), Khaya senegalensis (17.0%), Daniella oliveri (15.1%), Gmelina arborea and Vatex doniana with (13.3%) each, respectively. Knowledge on faunal existence and forest structure condition is paramount. It is recommended that afforestation and restoration programme be carried out and integration of scientific and local knowledge participation.


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