EFFECTS OF SOCIOECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES ON RENEWABLE RESOURCE DEGRADATION IN NIGERIA
Nigeria is faced with many environmental problems. Available data indicate that Nigeria is losing her renewable natural resources (including arable land, forest, pasture/rangeland and water resources) beyond sustainable limits. Economic and environmental systems interact in many important ways and hence the need to understand these interactions and develop effective public policy. While economic systems derive many invaluable inputs (some commodified, others free) from environmental systems and processes, economic activity can have negative impacts on the functional integrity of these natural systems and processes. The dynamic interactions of the environmental degradation problem with socioeconomic factors are neither well understood in Nigeria, nor are the implications for the nation’s Transformation Agenda and Vision 20:2020 well appreciated. This study, therefore, explored the inherent dynamic interactions and feedback between the environment and socioeconomic spheres. The specific objectives were to: (i) determine the causality of resource degradation and macroeconomic profile, (ii) determine the causality of resource degradation and social profile, (iii) assess the effects of resource degradation on macroeconomic profile, (iv) assess the effects of resource degradation on social profile, and (v) forecast the impact of resource degradation on Nigeria’s socioeconomic profile and implications for Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020. The study adopted time-series design. Nigeria was the unit of analysis. Time series secondary data (from 1970 to 2010) from various sources were utilized for modeling and analysis. A time series environmental degradation index was constructed using the tool of principal components analysis (PCA). The constructed index (a synoptic single number) represents the nation’s ecological footprint or bio-capacity. The next step was the modeling of the index and seven other variables as a dynamic vector error correction prmodel, given the non-mean reverting nature of the variables, and to capture the evolution and interdependencies between the variables. Results from the analysis show that the exploitation of renewable natural resources in Nigeria was highly cointegrated with her socio-economic spheres as there were 5-7 cointegrated equations in the vector error correction model (VECM). A bi-directional or feedback relationship existed between the index of environmental degradation and Nigeria’s socioeconomic profile. Agricultural prices, population dynamics, public capital expenditure on agriculture, fertilizer consumption, per capita income, life expectancy and greenhouse emissions granger-caused the index of degradation (joint p-value = 0.0389), the index of degradation granger-caused (p ≤ 0.05) agricultural prices, expenditure on agriculture, fertilizer consumption, greenhouse emission, per capita income, migration and life expectancy. The index of degradation produced significant (95% confidence level of error bands) positive and sustained effects on Nigeria’s macroeconomic profile (including agricultural prices, agricultural capital expenditure, fertilizer consumption and climate change over a ten-year horizon (2011-2020). On the other hand, the effects on Nigeria’s social factors (such as per capita income, rural population dynamics and life expectancy) by the index of degradation were significantly (95% confidence level of error bands) negative and sustained over a ten-year horizon (2011-2020). Following from these results, the study among other things recommends a more comprehensive holistic and sustainable development path, and strategies and policies that integrate rural development and renewable natural resources management in order to tackle the complex, diverse and deeply rooted issues underlying worsening environmental degradation in Nigeria.