Assessing and Predicting Changes in the Status of Gambari Forest Reserve, Nigeria Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques


Rapid population growth and increasing economic activities have resulted in unsustainable exploitation and rapid decline in the spatial extent of forest reserves in Nigeria. Studying land use dynamics of these forest reserves is essential for analysing various ecological and developmental consequences over time. Land use/land cover mapping, change detection and prediction are essential for decision-making and implementing appropriate policy responses relating to land uses. This paper aims at assessing and predicting changes in land use/land cover at Gambari forest reserve, Nigeria using remote sensing and GIS techniques. The study determined the magnitude, rate and dynamics of change in the spatial extent of the forest reserve between 1984 and 2014 using multi-temporal datasets (Landsat TM 1984 and 2000 and OLI/TIRS 2014). The imageries were classified using ArcGIS 10.0 version with support of ground truth data and Land use Change Modeller (LCM) and Markovian processes were employed to analyse the pattern and trend of change. Prediction of 2044 scenario carried out using neural network, which is a built-in module in the Idrisi. The study revealed dramatic decline in the extent of the forest reserve as both the plantation of exotic tree species (Tectona grandis and Gmelina) and the indigenous stands have been logged in several places for timber and to make way for cultivation of crops. In addition, pressures from other land uses like settlements have also led to increased non-forest uses particularly bare grounds. The study concluded that increasing loss of the indigenous forest and plantation would continue thus having implications for biodiversity conservation in the study area. There is the need for participation of different stakeholders and sectors to solve conflicting demands on limited forest resources and ensure ecosystem integrity.

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Adedeji, O. , Tope-Ajayi, O. and Abegunde, O. (2015) Assessing and Predicting Changes in the Status of Gambari Forest Reserve, Nigeria Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques. Journal of Geographic Information System, 7, 301-318. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2015.73024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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