Land Conversions and Forest Dynamics in a Riparian Forest Zone in South East Nigeria

Nwabueze I. Igu (Department of Geography and Meteorology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka,Nigeria.)
Joseph O. Duluora (Department of Environmental Management, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka,Nigeria.)
Uzoamaka R. Onyeizugbe (Department of Environmental Management, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka,Nigeria.)

Article ID: 1449



The rate at which forest ecosystems are lost and modified across tropicallandscapes are alarming, yet proper documentation and proactive measures to curtail this still remains a huge challenge in most areas. Thisresearch focused on elucidating the ongoing land use change patternsof a riparian forest landscape, its current impacts on the ecosystem andland surface temperature, as well as its likely future scenarios for thezone. LANDSAT images were downloaded for 1988, 2003 and 2018and used to show the dynamics for the zone, its drivers and their varyingtemperatures. Maximum Likelihood Classification algorithm was usedfor the classification and the land-use classes were categorized as: Waterbody, Farms and Sparse Vegetation, Built-up Areas, Bare Surface, andThick Vegetation. Furthermore, Markov Chain Analysis was employedfor understanding the future patterns of land use change in the zone. Landuse categories experienced changes over the three epochs, but among all,farmlands/ sparse vegetation and thick vegetation had the most significantchanges from 7.70 to 58.67 percent and 73.56 to 20.58 percent, respectively; implying that much of the forestland use/cover (which constitutedthe bulk of the land initially; 73.56 percent) were converted to agricultural land use. This same trend at which agriculture grew in the zone wasseen to affect the land surface temperature for zone (Pearson correlationcoefficient of 0.99 with p = 0.0058 at 0.05 level of significance). Futureprojection for the zone equally showed that agricultural land use willlikely dominate the entire landscape in the coming years and a consequent impact on the climate and ecosystem expected as well. On thatnote, intensive agricultural practices that seek to maximize allocated farmunits were advocated. Such initiatives will help to ensure that agriculturalgrowth is contained within delimited zones so that haphazard cultivations,reductions in ecological value of the forest landscape and consequent climatic impacts could be managed across the region.


Climate change; Biodiversity conservation; Ecosystem services; Livelihoods; Sustainable forest use; Tropical ecosystems

Full Text:



[1] Abood S. A., Lee J. S. H., Burivalova Z., Garcia-Ulloa J., Koh L. P.. Relative contributions of the logging, fiber, oil palm, and mining industries to forest loss in Indonesia. Conserv. Lett., 2015, 8: 58–67.

[2] Asai, M., Reidsma, P., Feng, S.. Impacts of agricultural land-use changes on biodiversity in Taihu Lake Basin, China: a multi-scale cause-effect approach considering multiple land-use functions. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and Management, 2010, 6(3-4): 119-130.

[3] Bradshaw, C.J.A., Sodhi, N.S, Brook, B.W.. Tropical turmoil- A biodiversity tragedy in progress. Front. Ecol. Environ, 2009, 7: 79-87.

[4] Butchart, S. H. M., Walpole, M., Collen, B., van Strien, A., Scharlemann, J. P. W., Almond, R. A. E., Baillie, J. E. M., Bomhard, B., Brown, C., Bruno, J., Carpenter, K. E., Carr, G. M., Chanson, J., Anna, M.Global biodiversity: indicators of recent declines. Science, 2010, 328(5982); 1164-1168.

[5] Byerlee, D., Stevenson, J., Villoria, N.. Does intensification slow crop land expansion or encourage deforestation? Global Food Security, 2014, 3: 92-98.

[6] Chamberlin, J., Jayne, T. S., Headey, D.. Scarcity amidst abundance? Reassessing the potential for cropland expansion in Africa. Food Policy, 2014, 48: 51-65.

[7] Gardner, T.A., Barlow, J., Chazdon, R., Ewers, R.M., Harvey, C.A., Peres, C.A., Sodhi, N.S.. Prospects for tropical forest biodiversity in a human-modified world. Ecology Letters, 2009, 12: 561-582.

[8] Igu, N. I.. Swamp forest use and loss in the Niger Delta: Contextual and underlying issues. Open Journal of Forestry, 2017, 7: 34-47.

[9] Igu, N. I., Nzoiwu, C. P., Anyaeze, E. U.. Biodiversity and carbon potentials of a Nigerian forest reserve: Insights from the Niger Basin. Journal of Environmental Protection, 2017, 8: 914-922.

[10] Laurance, W.F., Useche, D.C., Rendeiro, J., Kalka, M., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Sloan, S.P., Laurance, S.G., Campbell, M., et al.. Averting biodiversity collapse in tropical forest protected areas. Nature , 2012, 489: 290-294.

[11] Lindenmayer, D.. Land use intensification in natural forest settings. In: Lindenmayer, D., Cunningham, S., Young. A. (Eds) Land use intensification: effects on agriculture, biodiversity and ecological processes. CSIRO Publishing, Australia, 2012: 113-121.

[12] Lindenmayer, D. Interactions between forest resource management and landscape structure. Current lands Ecol Rep. 2016, 1 (1): 10-18.

[13] Monuanu, P.C.. Temperature and sunshine, in: Ofomata, G.E.K(ed). Nigeria in Maps: Eastern states. Ethiope, Publishing House, Benin City,1975.

[14] Nepstad D., McGrath D., Stickler C., Alencar A., Azevedo A., Swette B., Bezerra T., DiGiano M., Shimada J., Seroa da Motta R., Armijo E., Castello L., Brando P., Hansen M. C., McGrath-Horn M.,Carvalho O., Hess L.. Slowing Amazon deforestation through public policy and interventions in beef and soy supply chains. Science, 2014, 344: 1118–1123.

[15] Norris, K.. Agriculture and biodiversity conservation: opportunity knocks. Conservation Letters, 2008, 1: 2-11.

[16] Ofomata, G.E.K.. Nigeria in Maps: Eastern States .Ethiope, Publishing House, Benin City, 1975.

[17] Paria, P. and Bhatt, B.. A spatio-temporal land use change analysis of Waghodia taluka using RS and GIS. Geosci. Res, 2012, 3 (2): 96-99.

[18] Pimm, S.L. and Raven, P.R.. Biodiversity: Extinction by Numbers. Nature, 2000, 403: 843-845.

[19] Tyukavina, A., Hansen M. C., Potapov, P., Parker, D., Okpa, C., Stehman, S. V., Kommareddy, I., Turubanova, S.. Congo Basin forest loss dominated by increasing smallholder clearing. Science Advances, 4, 2018, 2993: 1-12.

[20] Zubair, A. O.. Change detection in land use and land cover using remote sensing data and GIS: A case study of Ilorin and its environs in Kwara state. M.Sc thesis, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 2006.


  • There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright © 2020 Nwabueze I. Igu,Joseph O. Duluora, Uzoamaka R. Onyeizugbe

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.