Changing Vegetation Patterns in Yobe State Nigeria: An Analysis of the Rates of Change, Potential Causes and the Implications for Sustainable Resource Management


The exploitation of natural resources for timber production, fuelwood use and conversion to agricultural land is increasing to such an extent that the sustainable use of many areas of the world is in doubt. This paper examines three decades of freely available Landsat satellite images of the northeastern part of Nigeria using a supervised classification based technique to create maps of vegetation change in Yobe State. The maps are then used to examine the temporal and spatial aspects of changes which have occurred in the context of previous evidence and literature. The results indicate that the vegetation of the area has drastically reduced since the 1970’s. However, as this study shows, the pattern of these changes is complicated and cannot be explained by any single physical or anthropogenic causal factor. Similarly, evidence from ground truthing investigation indicates the importance of fuelwood collection to the deforestation process within the region. This article shows the value of an existing remote sensing and image processing methodology for the assessment of vegetation change in developing countries in relation to the sustainable management of natural resources. The study also discusses the overall change within the study area and discusses several potential causative factors of the observed patterns of change.

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Naibbi, A. , Baily, B. , Healey, R. and Collier, P. (2014) Changing Vegetation Patterns in Yobe State Nigeria: An Analysis of the Rates of Change, Potential Causes and the Implications for Sustainable Resource Management. International Journal of Geosciences, 5, 50-62. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2014.51007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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