keywords: Deforestation, effects, livelihood, socioeconomics, rural development
The study was conducted to evaluate the effect of deforestation on rural development of Michika people of Adamawa State, Nigeria. The use of interview schedule was adopted and questionnaires were administered. A total of one hundred and fourteen (114) respondents (category I and II) were selected using purposive and random sampling techniques within the eight Districts of Michika and the forestry sector as well. The data collected include socio-economic status of respondents, causes of deforestation, agricultural cultivation, effects of deforestation etc. data generated were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Index Number. The result on the causes of deforestation were human activities, which include agricultural expansion with (26%), logging account for 17%, urbanization (15%) and fuelwood harvesting (12%). 88% of the respondents are aware of what causes deforestation. The effect of deforestation on livelihoods indicated that there is imbalance in climate and this may be due to loss of vegetation (deforestation).The study also revealed effects of deforestation such as increase in wind and soil erosion (29%) and (16%) inadequate energy and building materials (13%) and the least is flood (2%). The result obtained on percentage income and dependence on forest indicated that majority of the respondents depend on forest for their livelihood. 18% of the respondents earn N 4750- N 8500 monthly from the forest while 10% earns N 4500- N 8000 monthly. As a result of deforestation some indigenous tree species (Termarindus indica, Daniella olivarrii, Parkia biglobosa, etc.) which were commonly found in the area are now threatened. These tree species may go extinct if conservation strategies will not adopted with immediate effect. Majority of the respondents are farmers indicating high level of dependency on forest products. In this case since agriculture is highly practiced, Agroforestry system should be adopted as well as vigorous tree planting in the area. This will not only protect environment but also build a favorable ecosystem for wildlife and increase output and income of the farmers. This will finally reduce pressure on natural forest and enhancing rural development.