The IITA Forest Unit at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria, was set up on 1 January 2015 to succeed the Forest Project. Its mission is to manage and utilize forest resources for conservation, research, and education.
The Ibadan campus covers 1000 hectares (2470 acres) of which about 350 hectares (865 acres) are forested.
The largest forest fragment is known as the IITA Forest Reserve. This, together with lakes and ponds, farmland and gardens, provides habitats for many different plants and animals that were once common but have declined or disappeared through expansion of the surrounding city. In particular it is recognized globally as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and for this reason the Forest Unit focuses on birds – we run an Ornithological Monitoring project, organize the Ibadan Bird Club and bird-related activities for Schools Conservation Clubs, carry out IBA monitoring, and hold workshops for young ornithologists and birdwatchers.
With support from IITA and donors, the Forest Unit has developed a Botanical Nursery& Garden which produces trees for reforestation and landscaping, traditional Yoruba medicinal herbs and vegetables, and ornamental plants for the home, office, and garden.
We are also developing a Tree Heritage Park to protect threatened and rare Nigerian trees and a Forest School with information centre, trails, camp site, barbeque and picnic facilities, canopy observation tower and outdoor play areas.