Over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s forests have already been cleared, and more than 50% of forested areas that remain in the country are found in Cross River State. Approximately 75% of Nigeria’s endangered tree species are only found in Cross River State. The State is considered one of the richest biodiversity reserves in all of Africa and is part of the “Gulf of Guinea” forests, a global biodiversity hotspot, with a rich diversity of primates, birds, butterflies, plants, reptiles, amphibians and other species.
Cross River's forests support 22 primate species, including endemics like the Cross River Gorilla, Drill monkey, and Preuss's Guenon monkey.
Cross River State has taken many steps to protect its forests, including the following:
1. Holding a Stakeholders Summit on the Environment in June 2008;
2. Enacting a two-year logging moratorium;
3. Establishing and supporting an anti-logging task force to enforce the moratorium, with approximately USD$1 million committed to this cause;
4. Implementing far-reaching reforms in the Cross River State Forestry Commission; and
5. Committing to plant 5 million indigenous trees annually, with the development of nurseries in progress across the state.
Within 10 years, Cross River State plans to have 1 million hectares of forest lands managed for climate change-friendly activities, including carbon, non-timber forest products, sustainable tree crops and ecotourism. This could generate substantial economic value for the state.