Nigeria is a beautiful country! Its beauty is not only about the people, but also mother nature itself! Do you know how many types of vegetation you can find in Nigeria? This article is going to tell you all about them.
What is vegetation and why is it so important for a country like Nigeria?
Vegetation can be defined as the plants that can be found in a particular area. These plants are usually determined by the environmental conditions and climate of the area in question. Naturally, their characteristics spur as a response to the climate in the particular area.
Vegetation belts show the clear connection between climate and plants. West to East zonation patterns in Nigeria is characterized by the clear transition between one belt and another. Nigeria currently has two broad belts of vegetation; however, there are other smaller belts like the isolated mountain vegetation of the high plateau regions.
Let`s take a look at the two major types of vegetation in Nigeria and their differences.
Major types of vegetation in Nigeria
READ ALSO: What is the difference between sea and ocean?
Forest vegetation have trees as their most dominant feature. Therefore, in areas of forest vegetation, you are bound to find the trees in almost every corner! Nigeria has trees on its coastal South. The tropical conditions of the south are favorable for the growth of trees. The Forest vegetation in Nigeria can be subdivided into three smaller zones.
Saline Water Swamp
This type of vegetation is limited to the coastal strip of Nigeria; its width is less than two kilometers. This vegetation strip is can be found in Sapele, Lekki, and Badagry. In these areas, the freshwater from rivers meet with the salt water of the sea, forming the brackish swamp. The Saline waters flow into to the creeks and lagoons.
The Saline Water swamp conditions along with the climate help to grow various types of mangrove vegetation. A good example of this type of vegetation is the type found in the East of Lagos.
Freshwater Swamp Forest
This vegetation belt can be seen further in the inland which is far beyond the tidal waters. Here you can find a lot of freshwaters. This freshwater comes from the inland rivers and rainfalls. The major areas with sand, mud, and silt materials are located in the Cross River, Niger Delta, Imo, Benin and Ogun. The freshwater swamps are situated across the Niger Delta.
These areas are distinguished by their intense vegetation and their network of lagoons and creeks. The most common specie of vegetation in these areas is the Raffia Palm. Areas with better drainage systems can support big trees like Iroko and Oil Palm trees.
This is a belt characterized by tall trees and the dominant species found here are climbing plants. The excessive number of tall trees with the lianas make exploration of these areas very difficult. This vegetation belt can be seen from the Niger-Benin Republic border. It`s located in the Niger-Benue stretch system of South-West Nigeria.
The tropical evergreen forests are home to a great number of tree species which are categorized into top, middle and lower layers.
The lower layer species are the undergrowth vegetation with the highest density possible. They hardly grow higher than 10m and are sometimes prone to destruction by cultivation and clearing.
The middle layer consists of middle branched tall trees and can grow up to 30 m high. This luxuriant nature layer is usually the largest found in rainforest and is made up of a very large variety of trees.
Top layer – the top layer of trees consists of the great combination of plants that grow higher than 30 meters. The biggest trees amongst them are more than 60m high.
Savannah is the second biggest type of vegetation found in Nigeria. It is the areas with grassland and almost no forest. Therefore, the savannah can be described as the grass or under-grass vegetation. There are three major savannah belts in Nigeria.
This type of vegetation is located in the middle of the country. This extensive belt of Nigeria covers almost half of the country. It can be found in Kaduna state, Oyo state, Enugu state, Anambra state, Edo state and Ondo state.
It also has a large mixture of trees and grass.
This vegetation belt can be found in the North-West of Nigeria. It almost covers the entire North of Nigeria and the borders of Niger Republic. It has an abundance of short grass vegetation but has fewer trees that grow no higher than 15m.
This type of savannah is found in the north belt of the country. The rainfall in these areas is sparse and pretty low to support the growth of plants and crop cultivation in this zone is nearly impossible.
Mountain vegetation is isolated in the high mountain plateau of Nigeria; you can find this vegetation in Plateau state and Adamawa state. It is highly populated with grass.
Nigeria is a wonderful country with a great variety of plants. It is necessary to know how beautiful the land is to understand the people who live there. Only by understanding the vegetation belts of Nigeria will fully understand the struggle and love of the people who live there!
READ ALSO: Types of environmental problems in Nigeria