The environment refers to the natural world in which people, animals, and plants live and encompasses everything in our surroundings. The Physical Environment encompasses all natural and man-made elements in our surroundings and can be considered our immediate environment.

Meaning of Social Environment

Social environment refers to the cultural, economic, political, and social factors that influence the way people interact with each other in a society. It is the external factors that affect an individual’s behaviour, beliefs, and attitudes. It includes the social norms, values, customs, and traditions of a particular group or society. Social environment can shape an individual’s personality, identity, and life experiences. It can also impact the way people perceive the world, make decisions, and interact with different groups and individuals. Understanding social environment is important in social studies as it helps to explain the complexities of human behavior and the dynamics of social systems.

Types of Physical Environment

There are two types of Physical Environments:

Natural Environment:

The natural environment refers to the physical and biological components of the natural world that exist and interact without human intervention. It includes everything from the land, water, and air to the various living organisms that inhabit these environments. The natural environment is shaped by natural processes such as weathering, erosion, and ecological succession, and is impacted by natural events such as floods, wildfires, and earthquakes. Understanding the natural environment is essential for understanding the social, economic, and political factors that shape human societies and for developing strategies to manage and sustain natural resources for future generations. This includes valleys, forests, deserts, hills, mountains, rivers, grasslands, etc.

Non-natural or Man-made Environment

This refers to the human-created or constructed surroundings in which people live, work, and interact. This includes buildings, roads, bridges, parks, cities, and other physical structures and infrastructure. The man-made environment is a product of human ingenuity, technology, and creativity, and it plays a crucial role in shaping human culture and society. However, it can also have negative effects on the natural environment and human well-being if it is not designed and managed carefully. The study of the man-made environment is an important aspect of social studies and other related fields, as it helps us understand the relationship between human beings and their built surroundings.This includes bridges, houses, hospitals, roads, vehicles, police stations, markets, schools, etc.

The Physical Environment of Nigeria

  1. Relief
  2. Rivers 
  3. Lakes
  4. Season
  5. Weather
  6. Vegetation.


Relief refers to the variation in elevation or height of the Earth’s surface. Relief is a fundamental aspect of physical geography, and it is used to describe the shape and characteristics of the land. Relief can be expressed in various ways, including contour lines on a map, topographic maps, and digital elevation models. Relief is important in social studies because it influences the natural environment and human activities, including agriculture, transportation, and settlement patterns. Understanding relief is also critical in understanding natural hazards such as landslides, flooding, and earthquakes.. Relief can be classified into;

a.   Highland

b.   Low land


Social Environment

A mountainous or hilly region of a country can be referred to as a “highland.” Some examples of the Highland in Nigeria include the Idanre Hill, the Adamawa Mountains, and the Udinsuka Plateau Mountain. These regions are characterized by elevated terrain and are often referred to as “highlands” due to their relative height compared to the surrounding areas. The mountainous or hilly regions of a country can offer a range of natural beauty and diverse landscapes, attracting tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. They also serve as important ecosystems, providing habitat for a variety of plant and animal species. Additionally, these regions can also be significant sources of natural resources such as minerals and water. In conclusion, the highland regions of a country play a vital role in shaping its geography, ecology, and economy.

Regenerate response


Social Environment

Lowland refers to areas of relatively low elevation in a country and can be referred to as plains. A well-known example of a lowland in Nigeria is the Chad Basin plain. These regions are characterized by their flat terrain and are typically located at or near sea level. Lowlands are often fertile and support agriculture, which is an important source of food and livelihood for many people. Additionally, lowlands often serve as important transportation and communication hubs, connecting different regions of the country.

The flat terrain of lowlands also makes them ideal for urbanization and industrialization, leading to the development of many cities and towns. However, the same flat terrain also makes lowlands vulnerable to flooding, particularly during heavy rainfall and natural disasters. In conclusion, lowlands play a vital role in shaping the geography, economy, and development of a country, and it is important to carefully manage the natural resources and development activities in these regions to ensure their long-term sustainability.

Importance of Highlands and Lowlands


  1. Natural Resources: The highlands often contain valuable natural resources such as minerals, timber, and fresh water. This makes them important areas for resource extraction and management.
  2. Agriculture: Many highland regions are ideal for growing crops such as coffee, tea, and other cash crops. These crops play an important role in the economy of many highland communities.
  3. Biodiversity: The highlands are home to a wide range of plant and animal species. This biodiversity is important for maintaining ecological balance and supporting the livelihoods of local communities.
  4. Climate regulation: The highlands play an important role in regulating the climate, as they often act as natural buffers against extreme weather events.
  5. Tourism: Many highland areas are popular tourist destinations due to their natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities. This can bring in important revenue for local communities.
  6. Cultural heritage: The highlands are often home to unique cultural traditions and practices that have been passed down through generations. This cultural heritage is an important aspect of human history and identity.
  7. Water resources: The highlands are often important watersheds, providing water for downstream communities and ecosystems. This makes them critical areas for water resource management.
  8. Transportation: Highways and roads often pass through highland areas, providing important transportation links between different regions.
  9. Human settlements: Many highland regions are home to rural communities who depend on the land for their livelihoods. These communities often have unique cultural traditions and social structures.
  10. Conservation: The highlands are often home to threatened or endangered species, and the conservation of these species and their habitats is important for maintaining biodiversity and ecological balance.
  11. Geopolitical significance: Some highlands are strategically located and have played a crucial role in political and military conflicts throughout history.
  12. Religious significance: Some highland areas are considered sacred by various religions, and have been the sites of important pilgrimage and worship for centuries.
  13. Health benefits: Many highland regions have cooler temperatures and lower humidity, which can provide health benefits such as improved respiratory function and relief from certain illnesses.
  14. Environmental preservation: Highland regions often have fragile ecosystems that require careful management and protection from development and overuse.
  15. Scientific research: The highlands are home to a wide range of geological, ecological, and environmental features that provide important opportunities for scientific research and discovery.


  1. Rich agricultural land: Lowlands are often fertile agricultural lands that have a high potential for crop cultivation. This is a critical aspect of social studies, as agriculture is one of the earliest human activities and is often studied for its impact on the development of societies.
  2. High population density: Lowlands tend to be more populated than upland areas due to the availability of resources and fertile lands. This makes them an important location for the study of demographics and the distribution of resources.
  3. Centres of economic activity: Lowlands are often hubs of economic activity due to the presence of resources, transportation networks, and access to markets. This makes them essential for the study of economic systems and their impact on societies.
  4. Floodplains and river systems: Lowlands are often situated near river systems, which provide water for agriculture and transportation. The study of floodplains and river systems is important in social studies, as they have played a crucial role in the development of human societies.
  5. Coastal regions: Lowlands often include coastal regions, which have played an important role in human history due to the access they provide to trade routes and transportation networks.
  6. Cultural diversity: Lowlands tend to be more diverse in terms of culture and ethnicity, making them an essential area of study for anthropologists and sociologists.
  7. Vulnerability to natural disasters: Lowlands are often more susceptible to natural disasters such as flooding and landslides, which makes them important areas for studying disaster response and preparedness.
  8. Industrial centres: Lowlands are often centres of industry and manufacturing due to the availability of resources, transportation networks, and access to markets.
  9. Urbanization: Lowlands are often the site of urban development due to the availability of resources and the need for population centres. The study of urbanization and its impact on societies is an important aspect of social studies.
  10. Historical importance: Many lowland regions have played a significant role in human histories, such as the fertile crescent in the Middle East and the Nile River Valley in Egypt. The study of these areas is critical in understanding the development of early human civilizations.
  11. Environmental concerns: Lowlands are often subject to environmental concerns such as deforestation, pollution, and climate change. The study of these issues is important in understanding the impact of human activity on the environment and the role of society in addressing environmental challenges.
  12. Migration patterns: Lowlands are often areas of high migration due to economic opportunities and resource availability. The study of migration patterns and their impact on society is an important aspect of social studies.
  13. Human settlement patterns: Lowlands often have distinct settlement patterns due to the availability of resources and the presence of transportation networks. The study of settlement patterns is important in understanding the development of human societies.
  14. Political boundaries: Lowlands are often subject to political boundaries and disputes due to their strategic importance. The study of political boundaries and their impact on society is an important aspect of social studies.
  15. Globalization: Lowlands are often key players in the global economy due to their access to resources and transportation networks. The study of globalization and its impact on society is an important aspect of social studies.


Social Environment

The primary sources of rivers in Nigeria are the River Niger and the River Benue. These two mighty rivers are among the largest and most significant rivers in West Africa and have been a source of water, food, and transportation for thousands of years.

The River Niger and River Benue, Nigeria, is home to several other important rivers, including the River Ogun, the River Osun, the River Zamfara, the River Anambra, and the Cross Rivers, among others. These rivers play a crucial role in the development and well-being of the local communities, providing vital resources for agriculture, transportation, and other essential activities.

The rivers of Nigeria are also important for the country’s wildlife and biodiversity. Many species of fish, mammals, and birds depend on rivers for food and habitat, and they are an important component of Nigeria’s unique ecosystem.

Importance or Uses of Rivers in Nigeria

  1. Domestic use: Water is an essential element in our daily routines such as drinking, washing, and cooking.
  2. Job creation: Water bodies provide employment opportunities for individuals working in industries such as fishing, shipbuilding, and more.
  3. Energy generation: They are utilized for electricity production, for instance, the Kangi Dam in India.
  4. Industrial applications: Industries use water for production purposes such as producing soft drinks and bottled water.
  5. Food source: Water bodies provide a vast array of food sources for human consumption, including fish and crayfish.
  6. Construction: Sea ports and other similar structures are often built using materials from water bodies.
  7. Climate regulation: Water bodies play a crucial role in regulating the climate and preserving the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystem.
  8. Tourism: Water bodies also serve as popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors every year for activities such as boating, swimming, and more.


Social Environment

A lake is a natural body of water that is surrounded by land on all sides. It is typically much larger in size than a pond or a pool and may be fed by rivers and streams. Lakes can be found in a variety of environments, from mountains and forests to deserts and coastal regions. They serve many important functions, including providing habitats for wildlife, supporting local economies through fishing and recreation, and serving as a source of drinking water. Additionally, lakes play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate by storing carbon, controlling flooding, and replenishing groundwater supplies. In short, lakes are integral components of the planet’s ecosystem, providing countless benefits to both people and the natural world.

Importance or Uses of Lakes In Nigeria

  1. Lakes provide fresh water for drinking, irrigation, and other human activities.
  2. They support diverse aquatic ecosystems that are important for biodiversity and food security.
  3. Lakes are popular tourist destinations that generate revenue and create jobs.
  4. They provide recreational opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, and other activities.
  5. Lakes are important cultural sites for many indigenous peoples and local communities.
  6. They can help regulate the local climate and weather patterns.
  7. Lakes provide habitats for a wide range of plant and animal species.
  8. They are important for transportation and trade in many regions.
  9. Lakes play a role in flood control by absorbing and releasing water during heavy rains.
  10. They help recharge groundwater sources, which are critical for many communities.
  11. Lakes can serve as important sources of renewable energy through hydropower.
  12. They contribute to the overall health and well-being of local communities.
  13. Lakes play an important role in the carbon cycle and contribute to the global climate system.
  14. They support many industries, including fisheries, recreation, and tourism.
  15. Lakes provide important ecological services that support the overall health of the planet.


Social Environment

A season is a period of the year that is characterized by specific weather conditions, changes in daylight, and the position of the earth in relation to the sun. Seasons are typically caused by the tilt of the earth’s axis as it orbits around the sun, which affects the amount of sunlight that different regions of the earth receive at different times of the year.

There are four primary seasons in many parts of the world, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Each season is associated with specific weather patterns, such as warm temperatures and longer days during the summer, and cold temperatures and shorter days during the winter. These changes in weather and daylight can have a significant impact on the natural environment, as well as on human activities and culture. For example, agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation are often tied to the seasons, and many cultures have traditional celebrations and festivals that are associated with specific times of the year.

 In Nigeria, there are two main seasons which are rainy and dry seasons. In Nigeria, seasons have a significant impact on agriculture, as the timing of the rains affects the planting and harvesting of crops. The dry season is often used for land preparation, while the rainy season is used for planting and cultivation. Additionally, the seasons can also impact transportation and infrastructure, as heavy rainfall can cause flooding and damage to roads and bridges.

Rainy Season

The rainy season, which is characterized by high levels of precipitation and humidity, typically takes place in Nigeria between April and October, sometimes extending into November. This period of increased rainfall is caused by the prevailing southwest wind and is a critical time for farming activities in the country. During the rainy season, crops receive the necessary water they need to grow and thrive, leading to a more abundant harvest. The increased moisture levels also help to improve soil fertility and support the growth of other plants and trees. In addition to being essential for agriculture, the rainy season is also an important time for recharging freshwater resources and reducing the risk of droughts. Overall, the rainy season is a critical period for Nigeria’s agricultural and environmental health, providing a vital source of sustenance for the country and its people.

Dry season

The dry season in Nigeria is primarily caused by the North-East wind blowing in from the Sahara desert. This wind, known as harmattan, is particularly prevalent in Northern Nigeria and is responsible for bringing with it the dry, dusty conditions of the season. The dry season begins in November and lasts until April, during which time the country experiences limited precipitation and increased aridity. This period is characterized by lower humidity, dust in the air, and dry vegetation, leading to a reduced supply of fresh water and increased risk of wildfires. Despite these challenges, the dry season can also be a time of relative stability for the country, as it is easier to travel and conduct business during this period due to the relatively mild temperatures and lack of rain. Additionally, the dry season provides an opportunity for farmers to plant and cultivate crops that require less water, such as sorghum and millet, helping to maintain the food security of the country.


The term “weather” refers to the state of the atmosphere, including temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind direction and speed, cloud cover, and atmospheric pressure, at a specific location and moment in time. It can be dynamic, constantly changing and shifting due to various meteorological factors, leading to the varying weather patterns we experience throughout the day, week, month, and year.


Climate refers to the long-term patterns of temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind, and other atmospheric conditions in a specific region. The climate is different from weather, which describes short-term atmospheric conditions over a period of days or weeks.

The climate is influenced by a range of factors, including latitude, elevation, topography, ocean currents, and the earth’s rotation. The geography of a region, including its proximity to large bodies of water and mountain ranges, can have a significant impact on its climate. Human activities, such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels, can also affect climate by altering the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The climate in Nigeria varies based on the region, but it is generally characterized as tropical or sub-tropical. The country is located in West Africa and is situated between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. This location, combined with its topography and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, contributes to the diversity of Nigeria’s climate.

In the southern part of Nigeria, which includes the Niger Delta region, the climate is characterized as hot and humid. The region receives heavy rainfall, and the temperatures typically range from 25°C to 32°C. The rainy season usually starts in March and lasts until November, with a peak period in July and August.

In the northern part of Nigeria, which includes the Sahel and Savannah regions, the climate is semi-arid or arid. The region experiences hot and dry weather, with temperatures ranging from 35°C to 40°C. The rainy season in the north typically lasts from June to September and the dry season from October to May.

In the central part of Nigeria, which includes the Plateau region, the climate is characterized by moderate temperatures and rainfall. The temperatures range from 16°C to 27°C, and the region receives moderate rainfall throughout the year.

Elements of Weather and Climate

  1.  Temperature: The measure of the level of hotness or coldness in a specific location at a particular time is referred to as temperature. The tool used to measure temperature is a thermometer.
  2. Rainfall: The situation where water vapour condenses in the atmosphere and eventually falls to the earth’s surface is known as rainfall. The amount of rainfall can be measured with a device called a language.
  3. Wind: The movement of air in a specific direction is known as wind. The speed and direction of the wind can be measured with a combination of a wind vane and an anemometer.
  4. Air Pressure: The force exerted by the atmosphere on the earth’s surface and objects are referred to as air pressure. It can be measured using either a mercury barometer or an aneroid barometer.
  5. Relative Humidity: The degree of moisture, or water content, in the atmosphere, is known as relative humidity. It is measured using a device called a hygrometer.
  6. Clouds: Tiny droplets of water vapour in the atmosphere are known as clouds
  7. Sunshine: Sunshine refers to the direct light from the sun. It is the brightness and intensity of the sun’s rays.


This refers to the layer of plant life that covers the ground. The type of vegetation present in a certain area is largely determined by the local climate. In Nigeria, there are three distinct vegetation belts, each with its own unique flora and fauna. These vegetation belts are characterized by the types of plants that thrive in specific climatic conditions, and they play an important role in shaping the ecosystems of the region.

1.   Forest

2.   Savanna

3.   Montane

  1. Forest: Forests are ecosystems that are composed of trees, including Mangrove swamp forests and rainforests. 
  2. Savanna: Savannas are characterized by a mix of trees and grasses, with flowers often growing in between. There are several types of savannas, including the Guinea Savanna, Sudan Savanna, and Sahel Savanna. 
  3. Montane vegetation: Montane vegetation refers to the type of vegetation that can be found in mountainous regions, and it typically includes trees, shrubs, and grasses. This type of vegetation can be found in places such as Adamawa and Jos Plateau.

 Importance and Uses of Vegetation in Nigeria

  1. Provides Oxygen: Vegetation is important because it produces oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.
  2. Soil Conservation: Vegetation plays a vital role in soil conservation by preventing soil erosion and helping to maintain soil fertility.
  3. Climate Regulation: Vegetation helps regulate the climate by absorbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and producing oxygen.
  4. Water Conservation: Vegetation helps to conserve water by reducing runoff and maintaining water quality.
  5. Biodiversity: Vegetation provides a habitat for a variety of plants and animals, thereby promoting biodiversity.
  6. Food Production: Vegetation is a source of food for humans and animals.
  7. Aesthetic Value: Vegetation provides an aesthetic value to landscapes, making them more beautiful and appealing.
  8. Recreation: Vegetation provides recreational opportunities such as hiking, camping, and bird watching.
  9. Economic Value: Vegetation has economic value as a source of timber, paper, and other products.
  10. Cultural Value: Vegetation is important in many cultures for its religious and spiritual significance.
  11. Wildlife Conservation: Vegetation is important for wildlife conservation by providing habitat and food sources.
  12. Medicinal Value: Vegetation is a source of medicinal compounds that are used in traditional and modern medicine.
  13. Air Quality: Vegetation helps improve air quality by filtering pollutants and producing oxygen.
  14. Carbon Sequestration: Vegetation helps to sequester carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
  15. Ecotourism: Vegetation provides opportunities for ecotourism, which can generate income for local communities and promote conservation efforts.

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