Volume 1, Number 1 (2016) pp 36-42 doi 10.20448/803.1.1.36.42 | Research Articles
An enumeration of roadside trees along major routes of three selected urban towns in southern parts of Ekiti State was examined. A total of 23 tree species belonging to 16 families were enumerated. Tree density enumerated was 147 while houses in the tree vicinities were 442 thus given a ratio of 1 tree to 3 houses. Most of the trees were products of wildling preservation rather than planted. The products derivable from the trees constituted a major prerequisite to their being preserved and/or planted. The incentives and disincentives to tree domestication in the study area were identified. Strategies that would improve the present situation were proposed.
Keywords: Diversity, Roadside tree species, Urban areas.
Citation | J. Kayode; E. Franklin; M. J. Ayeni (2016). Diversity of Roadside Tree Species in Urban Areas in Southern Zone of Ekiti State, Nigeria. Canadian Journal of Agriculture and Crops, 1(1): 36-42.
Copyright: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
Funding : The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Competing Interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
History : Received: 3 June 2016/ Revised: 14 June 2016/ Accepted: 18 June 2016/ Published: 23 June 2016
Publisher: Online Science Publishing
The continued neglect of tree planting in rural and urban areas of Nigeria has continued to attract the attention of relevant stakeholders particularly now that emphases are being placed on the roles of the trees in meeting the subsistence needs of the populace. Previous studies by Kayode and Kadeba ; Kayode ; Ayeni and Kayode  as well as Kayode  enumerated several reasons why tree planting efforts had failed in Nigeria. Recent initiative is now considering tree domestication in residential areas as a benign strategy to encourage people’s participation in tree planting. The trees were asserted to be indispensable in the provision of physical ecosystem services, most especially to the urban ecosystem .
Consequent on the above, it is being thought that an inventory and assessment of biodiversity in different habitats might be necessary for the evolvement of long term strategies for conserving the endangered tree species.
The study being reported here aimed at assessing the diversity of roadside tree species in urban areas of Southern Ekiti State. This is a major component of an ongoing effort at the Department of Plant Science of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria, towards the evolvement of sustainable strategies that would enhance tree domestication in the state.
In each of this route, a 500m distance was measured out. Inventories of trees and houses situated within 10m radius, of the center of the road, were carried out at every 50m distance, thus constituting 10 sampling points in each route.
Also in each route, 10 respondents, made up of residents along the route, were interviewed individually. The interviews were conducted with a fairly open frame work that allowed for focused, conversational and two-way communication . A total of 30 respondents were interviewed in each town. Group interviews were also conducted among the respondents to determine group consensus on the subject matter. Similarly 10 key informants were identified and interviewed. These were made up of officials of the Forestry Division (2), Local Government (2) and Teachers (6).
The data obtained were subjected to descriptive statistics, mainly percentages, frequencies and inferential statistics, mostly chi-square. Similarity measures on the tree occurrences in the roadsides in the three urban towns were determined as follows:
Table 1 shows the demography of roadside trees and houses enumerated in the study area. While a total of 147 trees were enumerated, 442 houses were enumerated. Thus a ratio of 1:3 trees to houses was obtained. This tends to suggests that a tree serve three houses in the study area. Ayeni and Kayode  had earlier observed such low tree density in Ado-Ekiti, the capital city of Ekiti State. Field observation revealed that low density of tree was obtained in urban town A (Ikere - Ekiti), when compared to other towns. This could be attributed to the fact that the routes sampled constituted the major roads in the downtown with most of the houses constructed many years before the study, little or no regards was paid to the maintenance of prescribed set-back expected in the construction industry hence the expansion carried out on the roads some years back had eliminated most of the trees that were likely to have been preserved along these routes.
Most of the trees that were observed along the routes sampled were preserved (63%) rather than planted (Table 1). Field observation revealed that most of the trees were old and that the products derivable from them constituted a major prerequisite to their retention. Thus, out of the 23 species identified in this study (Table 2), the rank order of the frequency of occurrences revealed that 9 species were most frequent (Table 3). Products derived from these species ranged from shade/wind breaker, food/fruits, medicine, fodder, aesthetic/fencing, fuel/wood, construction, culture/spiritual (Table 4). Study by Kayode  asserted that the products derived from tree have constituted major determinant on the type of trees to be adopted for domestication in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
Table 5 revealed that there were similarities in the occurrences of species in urban towns B and C (Ise-Ekiti and Emure-Ekiti) than A and B (Ikere-Ekiti and Emure-Ekiti) . Statistical analysis (X2, 0.05%) on the occurrences of the trees revealed that there were no significant differences in the enumeration points in the towns sampled. Similarly the indices of diversity (Table 6) revealed low diversity in the tress sampled.
Table 7 shows the socio-economic classification of the respondents in the study area. Most of the respondents were females (59.9%), adults of age range of 20 - 60 years (71%), literates (75%) and mostly Christians and Muslims. Field observation revealed that all the respondents were tree mindedness thus suggesting that sex, age, education and religion status were not prerequisites to tree mindedness in the study area thus corroborating the previous observation of Kayode .
The respondents’ perceptions of the roles of the roadside trees are shown in Table 8. Their abilities to control wind erosion and provision of shade were considered as major roles of the trees. Field observation revealed that strong wind usually accompanied the early sets of rains at the onset of raining season in the study area. The disincentives to planting roadside trees in the study area were enumerated in Table 9. These ranged from browsing by animals while in the juvenile stage, lack of incorporating trees planting in building plans, human disturbances through harvesting of leaves, barks and roots, land tenure, attacks of trees by termites and the ability of some trees in harboring snakes and in serving as habitats for birds .
In conclusion, the study revealed that a gross dearth of roadside trees abounds in urban towns of the study area, most especially at the downtowns. There is a strong need to enlighten the populace on the need to plant trees in the urban area, the local government authority should plant trees in major roads of urban and rural towns, the state government should set up an Urban Environment Development Board that should also be mandated to plant trees by roadsides. The aesthetic provided by the trees, the quality of air and the low temperature offered by the trees might likely improve the security of the streets, as more pedestrians would walk the street and more artisans, especially the resource-poor, might likely meet their demands for work environment from these trees.