Land is the most important resource because it is the basis upon which life and development activities take place. However, demographic pressure and developmental activities can significantly cause changes in land use/land cover. The Niger Delta region of Nigeria is considered one of the most important biodiversity hotspots, globally housing multiple ecosystems ranging from freshwater and mangrove swamps to rainforests. The Niger Delta is the largest wetland in Africa and is ranked amongst the worlds’ ten most important wetlands and marine ecosystems. But when petroleum exploration activities commenced in the region in 1958, it rapidly altered the pattern of the physical environment. Petroleum activities have polluted the regions’ water bodies, and led to deforestation as well as loss of biodiversity. The major land use activities in the Niger Delta include farming, fishing, collecting and processing of palm fruits, as well as hunting. Thus, the exploration activities have grossly affect the livelihood of the local communities who rely on the ecosystem services for their sustenance, thereby raising the level of poverty in the region and displacing much of the indigenous people. This study examines the land use change dynamics relating to oil and gas exploration activities and analyzes them across the plains of the Niger Delta region. The nature and characteristics of land use and land cover of the region are first established. The pattern of change in selected locations where petroleum exploration activities are taking place is thereafter evaluated. Recommendations are proposed on remedial actions to minimize the effects of oil and gas activities on land use/land cover change.
Land Use/Land Cover Change in Petroleum-Producing Regions of NigeriaSaheed Matemilola1, Oludare Hakeem Adedeji2, Evidence Chinedu Enoguanbhor1
Categories: Research development