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Land and Resources, Natural Resources

columbite, Jos Plateau, Benue, Niger Delta, brown coal

The rural economy that supports most Nigerians is based on the productivity of the land, 31 percent of which is cultivated. Soil fertility varies considerably but is generally poor. The most fertile of the soils are the result of alluvial deposition in river valleys. Many, however, are overused and eroded. Trees, which help prevent erosion, are often used for fuel, lumber, material for tools, fodder for animals, and herbal medicines. As a result, the landscape is becoming increasingly barren of trees, especially in densely populated areas and near larger cities.

Petroleum and natural gas, the source of most of Nigeria’s export earnings, are concentrated in large amounts in the Niger Delta and just offshore. Smaller deposits are scattered elsewhere in the coastal region. Iron ore, generally of low grade, is widespread. Lignite (brown coal) and subbituminous coal (coal of a lower grade than bituminous but of a higher grade than lignite) can be found in southeastern Nigeria. Other mineral resources include tin and columbite in the Jos Plateau, and limestone in several areas, particularly in the valleys of the Niger, Benue, and Sokoto rivers. The petroleum and natural gas industries—with their oil spills, burnoff of natural gas, and clearance of vegetation—have seriously damaged the land, vegetation, and waterways in the Niger Delta.

Article key phrases:

columbite, Jos Plateau, Benue, Niger Delta, brown coal, Lignite, river valleys, rural economy, oil spills, Iron ore, tin, coastal region, Nigerians, lumber, fodder, mineral resources, waterways, erosion, limestone, populated areas, valleys, Soil fertility, low grade, Petroleum, herbal medicines, soils, lower grade, fuel, percent, land, higher grade, landscape, productivity, large amounts, tools, material, animals, areas


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