Poverty affects the environment (Google / Conservation Report)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification


Poverty affects the environment

Whether we live in the United States or Nigeria, if we save the environment we save ourselves. Environmental degradation exacerbates poverty, has a negative impact on our health, and it is often the result of an unsustainable use of natural landscapes and resources. Some environmental factors affecting developing populations include (1) the lack of healthy soil for agriculture; (2) the problem with encroaching deserts or desertification; (3) excessive drought conditions, (4) a lack of drinking and irrigating water; and (5) a problem with erosion, which is connected to deforestation, so these factors obviously interplay. For example, deforestation can result in erosion, and the runoff containing precious topsoil is lost upstream and water borne diseases from upstream affect people living downstream. Once a forest is cut, the microclimate is affected too. As a result, there may be a lack of rain and an intensifying of desertification. We can prevent and reverse the damage by changing behaviors, beliefs, and perceptions of individuals living in communities or politicians working in the government, and some countries like Nigeria are fighting back.

From AllAfrica.com, Washington:

Senator Lawan said “Between 50 percent and 75 percent of the states [in Nigeria] have been overtaken by desert. These states, with a total population of about 42 million people, account for about 43 percent of the country’s land area. Other states are also affected in different ways by the menace.”

He revealed that as a result of poverty, majority of Nigerians have resorted to cutting down of trees for fuel wood saying, “a study of Nigeria’s forest cover in 2008 shows that between 1990 and 2000, Nigeria lost an average of 409,700 hectares of forest per year.

This amounts to an annual deforestation rate of 2.38 percent. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change increased by 31.2 percent to 3.12 per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Nigeria lost 35.7 percent of its forest cover, or around 6,145, 000 hectares.”



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.