Natural Resource Evaluation, Problems and Prospects Case study Buea
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Buea is blessed with a lot of natural resources such as forest, animals, soil and water resources . These have been exploited for the development of Buea and its villages.
It was discovered that over utilization of these resources has led to their depletion over time.
Consequently, an identification of the Various resources available, became very crucial for their sustainable management.
The study was aimed at evaluating the natural resources of Buea municipality, coupled with the problems and future prospects of theses problems in the land and suggests possible solutions to mitigate the problems that plague the resources.
Data was collected through field survey and administering of structural questionnaires to the inhabitants in some villages and towns settlements in Buea.
Data was also obtain from secondary sources like textbooks, journals and the internet. The data collected was tested using Chi square test and photographs gotten on field was interpreted.
The findings revealed that Buea is composed of abundant natural resources ranging from water, through forest, to animals and soil resources.
It was noticed that the inhabitants of the land depended entirely on these natural resources for their survival and growth. The most disturbing problem is the manner in which the resources are used.
It uses the egoistic and utilitarian character and behavoiur of man is at its peak which has eventually resulted in the depletion of these resources.
Some mitigation ways could be through sensitization of the municipality and education of the masses toward sustainable development program and encouragement of nature preservation and conservation.
Countries all over the world depend on natural resources for their development and growth as such this resources created by nature are being used up by these countries for their development processes .
Natural resources according to Rashid F.(2009) refers to the naturally occurring substances that are considered valuable in their relatively unmodified or natural form.
The quantity and quality of these resources varies throughout the world with some countries blessed abundantly with a particular resource and others without or very little while some with almost all in various quantities.
Natural resources can be group into renewable and non renewable resources. Renewable resources are resources that will replenish itself after something when it has been extracted, this kind of resource when given time will renew itself example are forest resource like trees, wildlife and water resources like fish.
Non renewable resources are resources that get exhausted or finished up slowly when extracted example we have mineral resources like petroleum and precious gems like gold, diamond and copper just to name a few.
The distribution of these resources across the world is controlled on a macro scale by climate and on a micro scale by relief.
The forest natural resource with rainforest being the most predominant form lies around the equator between the tropic of cancer and Capricorn.
Most of this forest is found in the central and south America, the west Africa , Asia and part of Australia. The forest is constituted of high quality tree species like iroko (Milicio Exelsa) ,Obeche (exelsa) and ebony (Dalbergia Melanoxylon) .
Plank gotten from these trees are used to construct brigdes, homes and fueal wood .As a result of the fast exploitation of the forest this resources base is being depleted because the is indiscriminate lumbering of tress with replanting and giving the forest time to rejuvenate .
This action has resulted to erosion, advent of desertification and the destruction of some tree species and the ecosystem at large . In 1985, UNESCO estimated that about 50 million hetecaes of tropical forest are destroyed yearly. This is a horrifying rate of deforestation.
In order to minize and conserve our forest, afforestation and reaforestation ,avoidance of human activities like grazing ,farming activities and bush fire should be avoided. International organizations like WWF, FAO and SAP are trying to conserve and preserve our forest .
Next, Animal (wildlife) resources are distributed spatially across the globe ,the bulk of animals are found around the central and south America ,West Africa ,Australia and Asia .These animals are abundant here because of the presence of rainforest as it provides natural habitat for them .
The animals ranges from birds, rodents ,reptiles and climbers animas like monkey. This resource is utilize in many ways including serving as bush meat, its dung used as manure.
The rate at which exploitation is carried out is very high to a result of the extinction of some animal species and the endangering of many example the palgolin,elephants ,chimpanzees,rhinoceross and gorillas .
Its estimated that the world loses an average of one species every day and that within 20 years about 25% of all wildlife forms could be extinct if nothing is done (UNESCO 1985).
To readdress this problem, animals should be reared, and protected by state law and offenders punished ,the creation of national parks , national agencies like ministry of wildlife and international bodies like WWF,WFP try to this international by sensitizing the population
To add mineral resource is another natural resources which is also unevenly distributed over the world ,it occurs naturally in the soil and constitutes both renewable and non renewable natural resources .
A bulk of this resources is found in south east Asia, North ,South and West Africa . the great advances made in the scientific and technological depends greatly on this resources of the earth . They are extensively used in medicine, agriculture, industrialization and nutrition.
For example oil or petroleum is one of the main sources of revenue for most countries. About 95% of the energy used in industries comes from burning of oils or fossil fuels.
This mineral is not renewable so it depletes as it is been extracted. Agencies like OPEC, try to regulate the rate of exploitation by legislation. In South Africa, the mining industry is carefully controlled so as to ensure safety of the population and miner and also to avoid over exploitation.
Furthermore, Water is a resource which is abundant over the world. It covers about 75% to 80% of the earth surface .Despite its huge volume, over the earth surface .its distribution is spatially orients over the world .
The bulk of this resource is found in West Africa, South America, Central and South Asia, Australia and Western Europe. Water exists in different bodies such as streams, rivers, lakes, springs, sea and oceans. Water can also be obtained from wells, oasis and springs.
Water is useful in transport, construction and sand quarry, irrigation, washing, electricity generation and industrials uses .As a result of its numerous uses there is an uncontrolled usage of this resource resulting to making it unfit for drinking and a medium for the spread and transmission of many diseases.
Flood has also been known to cause very serious disasters. The application of toxic chemicals to catch fish and the disposal of untreated sewage or waste from companies into water to has resulted to the damaging the quality of water and its ecosystems, radioactive waste should be sealed up in containers and buried rather than dumping them into the seas .
Intensive afforestation and reafforestation should be carried out at all levels in all societies to make sure that forest is generated to conserve water.
Lastly, soil is another natural resource which is abundant across the globe . soil can be define as the top most layer of the earth on which plant grow .its nature and composition varies across the globe .
There is high positive correlation between soil and vegetation as such soils of high quality are concentrated mostly in forested zones .
A bulk of it is found in South East Asia, South Africa and North America with areas around the tropic especially in the West Africa and South America. Soils is utilize mainly for agriculture, it is also use to build houses.
There would have certainly been no world if there is no Soil. Soil resource faces problem of erosion and the destruction of soils organisms which help to loosen the soil hence increasing soil fertility .
Most of the problem is caused by man in is egoistic behavior which is not environmental friendly .
Afforestation, crop rotation and the use of organic soil manure should be encouraged as it mitigate the problems this resource faces.
Also many kinds of fauna species are found within this zone . some of this includes African Elephant(Loxondata Africana), Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the giant python (Python sebae). Non timber products such as Ricinodedron heudolotti (Njansa).
The extensive forest resource in Buea is exploited and used in the construction of infrastructures like houses, bridges ,and local utensils like kitchen utensils and also for fuel wood .
some inhabitants are directly involve in the extraction and they fully depend on this resources for livelihood they carry out hunting , timber exploitation and agriculture .the manner and rate at which the resources are used is alarming and rises a problem as some animal and plant species have been extinct or endangered .
Deforestation either for farmland or constructions result to the deterioration of water volumes with some catchment areas gradually been exposed to human activities and the tress cut down.
Deforestation also exposes the soil to agent of erosion as the soils are exposed to element of climate and as a result agents of erosion take over.
Infertility of the soils, drying up of streams, rivers be it seasonally or completely and climate change all some of the problems that are associated with mans poor actions towards natural resources.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The natural environment of Buea for the past decades is under serious depletion as a result of anthropogenic activities include farming hunting ,fishing and logging solely to satisfy mans needs . This depletion had so many impacts or problems amongst others, this problems includesꓼ
Firstly the natural vegetation of Buea which is dominantly forest is being depleted by the local inhabitants especially for domestic use and infrastructural purposes and most essentially for agriculture which has led to the removal of the forest cover; this has caused infertility of soils due to erosion washing out the soil.
Secondly, the forest of Buea serves as an inhabitant for many animals such as monkey, chimpanzees, elephants and birds and reptiles of all kinds.
The massive hunting and killing of these animals for commercial and subsistence purposes has lead to the extinction of some animal species and endangering of most examples are the pangolin, cross river gorilla and elephant.
Another problem is the dry off of many water catchments due to the deforestation and cutting down of trees along and on catchment zones for domestic use and commercial and also clearing the space for human settlements , this actions has lead to the reduction and even the drying off of some water point like springs and streams with others becoming seasonal. This has caused water problems in Buea.
Therefore the exploitation of natural resources in Buea over the years and the unsustainable extraction and utilization of natural resources has created a very big problem in Buea municipality.
1.3. RESEARCH QUESTION
- What are the resources in Buea municipality
- How are this resources important to man
- How are this resources changing
- What are the problems related to the resource depletion
- Ways or measures to mitigate over exploitation of the resources.
1.4. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
- To evaluate the natural resources and problems in Buea.
- To analyze the utilization of natural resources in Buea
- To identify problems of natural resource s
- To suggest possible solutions to mitigate the problems.