Tree Species Composition and Diversity of Ipinu-Igede Sacred Forest in Oju Local Government Area of Benue State, Nigeria

Main Article Content

E. T. Ikyaagba
J. I. Amonum
S. Okwoche


The role of sacred forest/sacred groves in the conservation of biodiversity is well recognised and documented. Despite the importance of sacred forests in conservation, data of flora species composition and diversity in many sacred forests still remain scanty.  The study was conducted to provide baseline data on tree species composition and diversity of Ipinu-Igede sacred forest with a view to promote the role of sacred forest in flora conservation in the area. Systematic sampling technique was adopted for the study. A base line transect of 2 km long was established and five (5) other transects 2 km long were laid at regular interval of 500 km apart. On each transect, 4 sampling plots of 50 mx50 m were established at a regular interval of 500m apart. Within the         50 m x50 m plots, trees with diameter at breast height (DBH)≥10 cm were identified and enumerated. Species Important Value Index (IVI), species richness, species evenness and species diversity were estimated. A total number of 50 tree species in 19 families were recorded. Cola gigantea was the most important tree species with IVI of 14.56, this was followed by Harungana madagascariensis with 13.14. Caesalpinioideae was the dominant family with 6 species, 48.15% of the families were represented by only one species. The species richness was D=9.436, Species Evenness was E´=0.7668 and species diversity was H=3.646. Thirty percent (30%) of the tree species were in the DBH class of 1-40cm indicating good regeneration status of the sacred forest. Acknowledgement of the traditional practices by scientists and other actors in natural resources conservation will help in promoting forest conservation.

Biodiversity, conservation, regeneration, flora, traditional practices

Article Details

How to Cite
Ikyaagba, E. T., Amonum, J. I., & Okwoche, S. (2019). Tree Species Composition and Diversity of Ipinu-Igede Sacred Forest in Oju Local Government Area of Benue State, Nigeria. Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, 18(3), 1-10.
Original Research Article


FAO (2000). Assessing Forest Integrity and Naturalness in Relation to Biodiversity. Forest Resources Assessment - WP 54. On behalf of FAO as part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment; 2000.

Morris RJ. Anthropogenic impacts on tropical forest biodiversity: A network structure and ecosystem functioning perspective. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 2010; 365:3709–3718.

Oribhabor BJ. Impact of human activities on biodiversity in nigerian aquatic ecosystems. Science International. 2016; 4:12-20.

Agarwal M. Conserving water and biodiversity: traditions of sacred groves in India. European Journal of Sustainable Development. 2016;5(4):29-140.

Udofia SI. Status of Homegardens in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Ph.D Dissertation. Michael Okpara Univerrsity of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia Sate, Nigeria. 2007;35-04.

Chandrakanth MG, Bhat MG, Accavva MS. Socioeconomic changes and sacred groves in South India: Protecting a community-based resource management institution. Natural Resources Forum. 2004;28:102–111.

Ormsby A. Analysis of Local Attitudes Toward the sacred Groves of Meghalaya and Kamataka, India. Conservation Society. 2013;11:187-197.

Daye DD, Healey JR. Impacts of land-use change on sacred forests at the landscape scale. Global Ecology and Conservation. 2015;3:349–358.

Mgumia FH, Oba G. Potential role of sacred groves in biodiversity conservation in Tanzania. Environment and Conservation. 2003;30:259–265.

Onyekwelu JC, Olusola JA. Role of Sacred Grove in In-situ Biodiversity Conservation in Rainforest Zone of South-western Nigeria. Journal of Tropical Forest Science. 2014;26(1):5–15.

Okali DUU, Amubode FO. Resources conservation in Oboto, Nigeria. In: Towards Common Ground – Gender and Natural Resources Management in Africa. 1995;27-47.

Asokan A, Chouhan S, Singh V. Sacred Grove-A Nature’s Gift-as a Remedy for Human Ailments, a Biodiversity Reservoir for Restoring Indigenous Traits for Endangered Listed Plants-A Review. Open Access Library Journal. 2015;2:e1517. Available: M. Trees, Shrubs and Lianas of West African dry zones. Paris, CIRAD, 2004;1-573.

Okali DUU. Environmental and resources development: Towards sustainable forestry development in Nigeria. in Oduwaiye et al. (eds) Environment and Resource Development. Proceedings of the 1997 Annual Conference of the Forestry Association of Nigeria. Ibadan. 1997;1–12.

Oyelowo OJ, Aduradola AM, Ekpo EN, Ine IE. Floristic Composition of a Sacred Grove in Igbara-oke, Ondo State, Nigeria. Journal of forestry research and management. 2012;9:83-92.

Udoakpan UI, Nelson IU, Jacob DE. Ecological Survey of Plant Species Producing Valuable Forest Products in Two Sacred Forest in South Eastern Nigeria. ARPN Journal of Science and Technology. 2013;3(4):415-421.

Daniel KS, Jacob DE, Udeagha AU. Tree species composition in selected sacred forests in Nigeria, International Journal of Mol. Ecol. and Conserv. 2015;5(7):1-10.

Jimoh SO, Adebisi LA, Ikyaagba ET. Biodiversity and ethnobotanical potentials of plant species of University of Agriculture Makurdi Wildlife Park and Ikwe Games Reserve, Benue State, Nigeria. Int. J. Biol. Chem. Sci. 2009;3(6):1375-1385.

Turyahabwe N, Tweheyo M. Does Forest tenure influence forest vegetation characteristic? A comparative analysis of private, local and central government forest reserves in Central Uganda: The International Forestry Review. 2010;12(4): 320 – 338.

Ikyaagba ET, Jimoh SO, Amonum JI. Effects of land use changes on Flora Diversity in Oban Division of the Cross River National Park, Nigeria. Ghana Journal of Forestry. 2016;31:62-77.

Keay RWJ. Trees of Nigeria. Clarendon Press, Oxford Walnut Street, Oxford OX2; 1989.

Arbonnier M. Trees, Shrubs and Lianas of West African dry zones. Paris, CIRAD. 2004;1-573.

Agishi EC. Tiv, Idoma, Etulo, Igede, Akwaya, Hausa, English and Scientific names of plants, 2nd Edition, Agitab publishers Ltd Makurdi; 2010.

Maingi JK, Marsh SE. Composition, Structure, and regeneration patterns in a gallery forest along the Tana River near Bura, Kenya. Forest Ecology and Management. 2006;236:211-228.

Adam JH, Mahmud AM, Muslim NE. Cluster analysis on floristic and forest structure of hilly lowland forest in Lak Kawi, Sabah of Malasia. International Journal Botany. 2007;3(4):351-358.

Spellerberg IF. Monitoring Ecological Change. New York USA, Cambridge University. 1991;112-140.

Magurran AE. Measuring Biological Diversity Blackwell Science, Oxford; 2004.

Udofia Sl, Owoh PW, Attah VI, Thomas A D. Assessment of Plant Species Composition in Ayan Nsit Sacred Forest of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Agriculture, Food and Environment. 2014;10(2):34-37.

Thandavamoorthy M. Floristic Diversity of Ilangudipatti Ayyanar Sacred Grove at Pudukottai District of Tamil Nadu, India. World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2017;6(8): 1056-1063

Bosart JL, Opuni-Frimpong E, Kuudaar S, Nkrumah E. Richness, abundance, and complementarity of fruitfeeding butterfly species in relict sacred forests and forest reserves of Ghana. Biodiversity and Conservation. 2006;15:333–359.

Kokou K, Adjossou K, Kokutse AD. Considering sacred and riverside forests in criteria and indicators of forest management in low wood producing countries: The case of Togo. Ecological Indicators. 2008;8:158–169.

Lynch L, Kokou K, Todd S. Comparison of the Ecological Value of Sacred and Non sacred Community Forests in Kaboli, Togo. Tropical Conservation Science. 2018;11:1–11.

Richards PW. The Tropical Rainforest. Cambridge: Cambridge University;1996.

Schmit K. Botanical survey in the Oban Division of CRNP –Technical Report on Oban Hill progamm Calabar. 1996;1-55.

Attua EM, Pabi O. Tree Composition Richness and Diversity in Forest -Savanna Ecotone of Ghana. Journal. Applied. Bioscience. 2013;69:5437– 5448.

Ikyaagba TE, Tee TN, Dagba BI, Ancha UP, Ngibo KD, Tume C. Tree composition and distribution in Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Nigeria. Journal of Research in Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. 2015;7(2):147 – 157.

Wakawa L, Suleiman A, Ibrahim Y, Adam L. Tree Species Biodiversity of a Sahelien Ecosystem in North-East Nigeria. Journal of Bartin Faculty of Forestry. 2017;19(2): 166-173.

Sax DF. Equal diversity in disparate species assemblages: A comparison of native and exotic woodlands in California, Global Ecology and Biogeography. 2002; 11:49 -57.

Alohou EC, Gbemavo DSJC, Mensah S, Ouinsav C. Fragmentation of Forest Ecosystems and Connectivity Between Sacred Groves and Forest Reserves in Southeastern Benin, West Africa. Tropical Conservation Science. 2017;10:1–11.

Colding J, Folke C. Social taboos: “Invisible” systems of local resource management and biological conservation. Ecol Appl. 2001;11:584-600.

Kobina ED, Kofi AA. Change and Continuity: Using Indigenous Knowledge to Achieve Environmental Sustainability in Ghana. Paper presented at the 7th International Science Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change held in Germany, Bonn, on 26th -30th April, 2009 on the Theme. The Social Challenges of Global Change; 2009.
Available:http://e08. cgpublisher. com/session descriptions.html
(Retrieved January5, 2011)

Jimoh SO, Ikyaagba ET, Aralape AA, Obioha EE, Adeyemi AA. The role of traditional laws and taboos in wildlife conservation in the oban hill sector of cross river national park (CRNP), Nigeria J Hum Ecol. 2012;39(3):209-219.

Amonum JI, Ikyaagba ET, Maa SF. The Role of Customs and Taboos in the Conservation of Agogo Pond in Chito Stream in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue state. Journal of Applied Tropical Agriculture. 2017;22(2):166-172.

Saj TL, Mather C, Sicotte P. Traditional taboos in biological conservation: The case of Colobus vellerosus at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Central Ghana. Soc Sci Inform. 2006;45:285-310.

Anoliefo GO, Isikhuemhen OS, Ochije NR. Environmental implications of the erosion of cultural taboo practices in awka-south local government area of anambra state, Nigeria: 1. Forests, trees, and water resource preservation. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 2003;16:281-296.

Akindele SO. Forest Restoration through Traditional Institutions in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects; 2010 Available:
(Retrieved August 27, 2011).

Ormsby AA, Bhagwat SA. Sacred forests of India: A strong tradition of community based natural resource management. Environmental Conservation. 2010;37(3): 320–326.