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The ecological impacts of human settlement on trees in Oban and Okwangwo Forests of Cross River National Park located in Nigeria was carried out in the park with the view of providing information on the activities of the support zones and enclave communities in both (Oban and Okwangwo) divisions of the park. Surveillance tours were carried out in company of the park rangers in the park and enclave communities. Each division was divided into two (2) zones each (core and peripheral) for ease of coverage. Plots were randomly selected in each study site at regular number of paces (fixed interval) to avoid coincidence.
Data collections and observations were carried out for a period of four (4) months in both divisions. Random Sampling method was used for the study. Eight (8) plots of size 50 each were marked out using wooden pegs with red ribbon tied across the pegs in the core zones in both divisions (Oban and okwangwo). Same was applicable to the peripheral zones in both divisions giving a total number of 32 plots. The total number of trees per plot was determined by direct stem count and trees with 30 cm girth and above was considered for the count. The total number of trees counted in the core zones was (Oban 141 and Okwangwo 162) and the peripheral zones (Oban 120 and Okwangwo 127). Descriptive statistics was applied on the data to determine the mean, standard deviation and range. The T-test for tree counted in Oban (Table 3) reveals that Tcal(1.161)≤Ttab(2.365) and the difference had a mean of 3.875, TCal ≤ Ttab at 5% level of significance. The T-test for tree counts in Okwangwo (Table 6) shows that Tcal(3.040)≥Ttab(2.365), TCal ≥ Ttab at 5% level of significance. F-statistics (Table 8) revealed a significance level in their differences, Ftab (p=0.05) df (7,7) = 3.79, FCal = 5.384.
This calls for fast action on the resettlement of the enclave communities and provision of alternative sources of income for the support zones and enclave communities. Strategies should be adopted and improved upon if biodiversity is to be conserved. These strategies are embedded in increasing staff strength, well equipped and dedicated rangers as well as the absence of surrounding enclave communities.
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