Land use and Land Cover Change in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State-Nigeria (1987-2020) (Published)
This study examined landuse and land cover change in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. It adopted the cross-sectional research design, utilizing satellite images (1987-2020) and questionnaire for socio-economic data from 210 randomly selected households from seven communities (Aluu, Ubima, Elele, Igwuruta, Ozuoha, Isiokpo and Omagwa). Three research questions and three objectives guided the study. Satellite image classification and analysis was done with the RS and GIS tools of Landsat TM 1986, ETM image and ASTER. From the findings, the main landuse activities in the area are: crop cultivation, plantation agriculture, residential, institutional, commercial, transportation and recreational infrastructures; there is significant relationship between landuse and land-cover change, as the former leads to the later; there is significant difference in rate of land-cover change from1987-2020. While there is constant increase in rate of expansion of residential built-up at 9.3% (1987-1997) and 15.4% (2007-2020); plantations grew at 2% (1987-1997) and declined at 1.36% (2007-2020); there is a steady decline in land-cover for crop cultivation, institutional and recreational infrastructures. Finally, change in landuse and land-cover pose some social and environmental challenges on the people e.g. loss of forested lands, biodiversity, sacred grooves, wet lands; and decline in farmers’ income. The study recommended for the establishment of high rise residential and commercial buildings; and the diversification of the area’s economy into secondary activities and services.
Biodiversity is a measure of the degree of life forms on earth and the ecological complexes which they are part of. The maintenance of biological diversity provides enormous life support system to the biosphere. Though the earth recorded some past extinction events among organisms in the course of evolution as part of natural phenomena, the current rate of loss of biodiversity is far higher than past episodes of extinction and this is a worrisome concern because most of the contributing factors are man-made. Attempts have been made at the regional and global level to address these trends but seem to be sabotaged by lack of cooperation in developing nations. Tactical and integrated strategies therefore need to be adopted to ensure compliance with the laws guiding man’s behavioral attitude to bio-resources. These integrated strategies may include policy making, legislation, attitudinal change, nature education, nature advocacy, socio-political measures, good governance, communal efforts, individual efforts, economic tools and all other combined strategies to overcome the current biodiversity loss so that the biosphere will remain sustainable and productive. This may also assist in ameliorating effects of climate change and in the long run halting it. Other related issues are discussed.