This is the report of an lCBP/NCF backed expedition to Nigeria whose principal aims were to evaluate the present status of the relic forests of the Kagoro area, to determine those areas most in need of protection and to propose how such protection could be achieved and maintained. The team comprised three members resident in Nigeria (an ornithologist, a botanist and a geographer) and three ornithologists with Nigerian experience now resident in the UK.
On site research was conducted at Kagoro and nearby forests in February 1987. These areas were surveyed on foot and by air. All significant areas of forest were located and mapped. The majority of these areas were visited and past or present disturbance noted. Patches of forest had been and were still being cleared for cultivation. Disturbance by fire, selective logging, hunting and livestock grazing were also threatening remaining forest areas. Fire was invading disturbed areas at the forest edge and erosion was already apparent on the steeper valley slopes.
Ornithological and botanical surveys were conducted and the results are presented together with those of previous workers in the forests. Two species of birds and sub-species of butterfly are known in Nigeria only from these relic forests and several bird species have only been recorded at few other localities.
Immediate protective measures must be enforced to conserve the relic forests and their fauna and flora. These measures must include total bans on cultivation, felling of timber, the use of fire, livestock grazing and hunting. Disturbed areas should be allowed to regenerate and protection extended to ribbon-like 'kurmi' and riparian woodlands which act as migration corridors and additional habitat for many forest species. Personnel need to be appointed to enforce these measures and the status of these forests requires regular monitoring to determine the effectiveness of the protective measures.
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