The study assessed the perceived effect of forest encroachment among rural households in Ondo State. Data were obtained using an interview guide from one hundred and twenty randomly selected rural households from Okitipupa and Odigbo Local Government Areas of Ondo State. The data were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings revealed that 63.3% of the respondents were male, 39.2% were between 31-40 years, 69.2% were married, 60% had between 6-10 households size, 65% were engaged in forest encroachment and 37.5% earned between
N10,1000- N150,000 annually. Findings also showed that causes of forest encroachment includes farming activities (85.7%), fuel wood collection (53%) and lack of food (47.5%). Findings also revealed that benefits derived from forest were herbs (90%), fuel wood (89.2%), fruits (80.8 %) and game (77.5%). The perceived effects of forest encroachment by household heads had a mean score of 4.06 and correlation result showed that there is a significant relationship between perceived causes of forest encroachment with age (r=0.038) and household size (r=0.152). The study concluded that majority of the rural households depend completely on the forest reserve in their quest for survival and this has negative impact on the forest resources of the area. It was recommended that rural households should be encouraged and empowered to venture into other non-farm activities so as to reduce pressure on the forest.
Key Words: Forest, Exploitation, Encroachment, Biodiversity, Rural, Households