Human activities in Nigeria are not evenly distributed on the land surface, owing to marked differences in climatic, geological, demographic, and cultural, factors in different areas of Nigeria. The use of land is designed to optimize resources for diverse interest-groups, thus causing pressures to be exerted on the land in varied degrees. Because land-uses are neither influenced by capabilities of existing resources nor based on effective land-use policy, the economic development of land is not conducive to conservation of the environment. Indeed, the attempt to maximize the use of resources constitutes a serious impediment to future development, as most lands are either destroyed or rendered marginal for primary production.
However, the best use to which land can be put is ultimately largely a political matter, and this is influenced by socio-economic factors at work in a given environment. Unfortunately, when the use of land is not in harmony with ecological approaches to development, the soils commonly depreciate to counter-productive levels. This is why, when land uses are in opposition, they pose serious questions regarding the extent to which they can adequately sustain life. There is plenty of evidence that the rate of forest depletion in the country may increase in relation to population increase, which is why, without adequate measures being taken, constraints in land-use could lead to shortened fallow periods, reduced crop-yields, overgrazing, indiscriminate burning of vegetation, excessive hunting, poor techniques of mineral exploitation, and application of unconserving agro-technical practices for food production.
In the face of the above problems, however, adoption of alley cropping by smallholder farmers, establishment of woodlots for fuel-wood production in the vicinity of large towns, planting of timber trees in the periphery of cocoa and oil palm plantations, private-sector participation in reafforestation, and rehabilitation of mined areas with suitable vegetational forms, are some of the strategies that can reduce the rate of forest depletion in the country.