VEGETATIVE ZONES IN NIGERIA

VEGETATIVE ZONES IN NIGERIA also known as ecological zones of Nigeria. Vegetation usually depends on the climate zones of the country.

Nigeria, located in West Africa, is known for its diverse climate and topography, resulting in distinct vegetative zones across the country. These vegetative zones are influenced by factors such as temperature, rainfall, soil type, and elevation.

Nigeria is typically divided into four main vegetative zones:

1. Rainforest Zone:

  • Location: The southernmost part of Nigeria, including states like Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Ogun.
  • Climate: High and consistent rainfall throughout the year, with an average annual rainfall of over 2,000mm.
  • Vegetation: Lush and dense rainforests, characterized by tall trees, diverse plant species, and a variety of wildlife.
  • Crops: Suitable for the cultivation of oil palm, cocoa, rubber, and other tropical crops.

2. Guinea Savanna Zone:

  • Location: Covering central Nigeria, including states like Benue, Kogi, and Niger.
  • Climate: A transitional zone with a wet season from April to October and a dry season from November to March.
  • Vegetation: Savanna grasslands with scattered trees, including species like baobab and acacia.
  • Crops: Suitable for the cultivation of crops like millet, sorghum, yam, and maize.

3. Sudan Savanna Zone:

  • Location: Extending northward from the Guinea Savanna Zone, including states like Sokoto, Katsina, and Borno.
  • Climate: A shorter wet season and a more extended dry season than the Guinea Savanna Zone, with lower annual rainfall.
  • Vegetation: Sparse savanna with short grasses and drought-resistant shrubs.
  • Crops: Suitable for the cultivation of drought-tolerant crops like pearl millet, cowpea, and groundnut.

4. Sahel Savannah Zone:

  • Location: The northernmost part of Nigeria, including states like Yobe, Jigawa, and Kano.
  • Climate: Characterized by a short wet season and a long, harsh dry season, with the lowest annual rainfall.
  • Vegetation: Desert-like conditions with sparse vegetation, dominated by thorny shrubs and short grasses.
  • Crops: Limited agricultural activities due to aridity; livestock herding is more common.

These vegetative zones in Nigeria influence the types of crops that can be grown, the availability of natural resources, and the livelihoods of the people in each region. Understanding these zones is essential for effective agricultural planning, resource management, and environmental conservation efforts across the country.

Vegetation belts in Nigeria reflect the tight link between the vegetation and the country’s climate: Rainforest; Fresh Water Swamp; Sahel Savanna; Short Grass Savanna; Guinea Savanna; Woodland; Marginal Savanna; Mangrove; Montane; Sudan Savanna.

The vegetative zones in Nigeria and local; biotic communities in Nigeria can be grouped into two major areas. They are the Forest zone and the Savanna zone. These are further sub-grouped into climatic belts.

Forest Zones in Nigeria

MANGROVE SWAMP FOREST:

this is made up of fresh and saltwater swamp
ii. TROPICAL RAIN FOREST

SAVANNA:

The savanna zones of Nigeria are made up of grassland and are further subdivided into three main belt biotic communities which are the Southern Guinea savanna, Northern Guinea savanna and Sahel Savanna.

MANGROVE SWAMP FOREST

The mangrove swamp forest is a typically recognized vegetative zone in Nigeria and is found along the coastal belt of the country, especially in states like Delta, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Ondo, Ogun and Lagos state.

i. A typical swamp forest has tall woody trees
ii. Plants found in swamp forests mainly have aerial roots
iii. The trees in the swamp forest are evergreen with broad leaves.
iv. This belt has high rainfall of over 250cm throughout the year which results in water logging
v. Waters in the swamp forest is a combination of fresh and saltwater. Common plant species found here are white mangrove, red mangrove, raffia palm, coconut etc.
vii. Animals found in the swamp forest include Tilapia fish, oysters, crabs, snakes, birds and others

TROPICAL RAIN-FOREST vegetative zones in Nigeria

Where can we find the tropical rainforest in Nigeria?
The tropical rainforest can be found in states like Lagos, Edo, Delta, Ogun, Anambra, Bayelsa, Abia, Imo, Ondo and Akwa Ibom.CHARACTERISTICS OF A TROPICAL RAIN-FOREST

How can we identify a tropical rainforest?
Here are a few characteristics identifiable in the tropical rain-forest
i. The vegetation found in the tropical rain-forest has tall trees with buttress roots and evergreen leaves
ii. The trees exist at different heights or layers
iii. The biome experiences high rainfall of over 200cm, high temperature and high relative humidity


iv. Plant species found in this type of ecological zone are Iroko, Obeche, Mahogany, African walnut, Opepe and Ebony
v. Animals commonly found in this belt are monkeys, birds, snakes, chameleons and squirrel
vi. The trees are scattered and deciduous, meaning they shed leaves during dry season
vii. The tropical forest usually has tall grasses

SOUTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA

This biotic communities are found in states like Enugu, Kogi, Benue, Kwara, Oyo, Ebonyi, Osun and Ekiti

CHARACTERISTICS OF SOUTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA

I. THIS TYPE OF COMMUNITY OR BELT is the largest in Nigeria
II. It has moderate rainfall of around 100-150cm
III. The Southern Guinea Savanna has tall grasses
IV. The trees here are tall and as broad leaves
V. The trees are scattered and deciduous
VI. The important trees here include locust bean tree, shea butter and Isobelina
VII. Animals found in this ecological zone include but are not limited to antelopes, lions, leopards and zebra.

NORTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA

This biome is found in states like Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi, Niger, Taraba, Adamawa and Kano

CHARACTERISTICS OF NORTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA

i. The Northern Guinea Savanna has a relatively low rainfall of about 50-100cm per annum
ii. The Northern Guinea Savanna has scattered and short d3ciduous trees
iii. It has short but numerous grasses
iv. Most of the trees has thorn while others have thick bark
v. Some of the trees wither in the dry season and sprout at the beginning of the rainy season
vi. Common plant species found In this belt or communities are acacia, date palm, silk cotton plant and baobab
vii. Common animals are lizards, deer, lions, leopards, antelope and hyena

SAHEL SAVANNA VEGETATIVE ZONES IN NIGERIA

The local biotic community called Sahel Savanna is a vegetative zone in Nigeria one of which  is found only in the extreme Northern parts of Nigeria such as Bornu, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, and Jigawa

CHARACTERISTICS OF SAHEL SAVANNA

i. The biome has high temperatures and very low rainfall of below 50cm per annum
ii. This ecological belt or zone has short and scanty grasses
iii. It also has short and tough shrubs or trees
iv. It has many drought-resistant and scattered plants
v. The grasses are poorer and in patches
vi. Important trees include acacia, gum Arabic and date palm

CHARACTERISTICS OF TREES AND SHRUB OF THE SAVANNA vegetative zones in Nigeria

I. Trees and shrubs are scattered and woody
II. They have narrow leaves and few stomata
III. Their leaves have a thick cuticle
IV. The trees are not usually very tall
V. They have gnarled, twisted or crooked trunks with fissured, fire resistant or corky barks
VI. Most of the trees are deciduous

VII. They also have long taproots with an extensive root system

DESERT vegetative zones in Nigeria

This biome is located at the northern borders of Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Bornu

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DESERT vegetative zones in Nigeria

1. A desert has little or no rainfall in most of the year
2. The desert has high temperature and very low humidity
3. The desert has fewer grasses and shrubs
4. The plants found in the desert have special features which enable them to survive in the desert
5. Examples of trees found here are cacti trees and baobab

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