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Abstract

In recent times some economists view Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) extraction and marketing as a better alternative to timber exploitation as a rural livelihood strategy. Harvesting and sale of NTFPs have the potential for accomplishing the dual goals of natural forest conservation and income generation for the rural inhabitants. Meanwhile, realization of these dual goals in Nigeria, require an understanding of how NTFPs functions in the face of marketing, ecological, geographic and institutional constraints. Following a conceptualization of NTFPs, this paper provides a vivid overview of the simultaneous roles of NTFPs in rural livelihood enhancement and forest conservation in Nigeria. It highlights governmental initiatives with respect to conservation, the challenges and prospects of NTFPs as a conservation strategy. Conclusively, the paper suggests that appropriate NTFPs development policies are required to simultaneously address forest depletion and poverty in rural areas of Nigeria.

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