An Assessment of Vegetal Cover Transition in the Zugurma Sector of Kainji Lake National Park, Nigeria

Bako, M.M. J. Musa; M.Y. Suleman, G.I Kuta G. Eno


In Nigeria, National Parks and other categories of protected areas have played a major role in modern systems of biodiversity conservation and it is likely to be an important component of national biodiversity conservation strategies in the future.  This research work aimed at assessing the vegetal cover transition in Zugurma Sector of Kainji Lake National Park using satellite-derived data. Satellite imageries of 1986, 2000 and 2010 were downloaded from GLCF and classified using ArcGIS, while evaluation of the agricultural resource in the study area was done using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); to comprehend the socioeconomic and human impact on the flora dynamics, questionnaires and interviews were used; and mathematical modeling was used to project the study area to the year 2020.  Various softwares (ArcGIS 10.1, SPSS 10.0, Microsoft Office Excel, 2007 and Microsoft Office Word, 2007) were used.  The results show that there is significant decrease in the forest cover between 1986 – 2010, while farmlands around the forest experienced an increase in year 2000 but reduced again in 2010.  As for settlements, we have more cases of immigration, while the bare lands in and around the forests reduce or increase based on climatic aberrations, soil erosion and human activities. NDVI maps were used to show the changes in the vegetation indices for Zugurma in 1986, 2000 and 2010 derived from the classified satellite imageries.  These changes ranged from 0.473684 to 0.503106 then to 0.491525 respectively (for high NDVI values); this suggests that the forest had degraded probably caused by deforestation or climatic factors.  The low NDVI values as shown by the maps are -0.0616327, -0.386773 and -0.118644 for 1986, 2000 and 2010 respectively. It is projected that by the year 2020, Forests will have a percentage of 32.878% (from70.52%), while farmlands are expected to increase to 25.815% (from11.34%), Settlements to 29.259% (from 12.85%), and Bare lands will be the least with about 12.048% (from 5.29%).In order to reduce the human pressure on the KLNP, there is a need for constant dialogue and collaboration between the Park authority and the communities around the study area. This constant interaction will facilitate mutual understanding and guarantee sustainable park management.  The Nigerian government should enhance biodiversity protection by incorporating biodiversity concerns into development planning, expand and consolidate protected area networks.

Keywords: Biodiversity, National Park, Geographic Information System, Vegetation Index

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