Application of Satellite Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System in Monitoring Deforestation at Ikwe Forest Reserve, Benue State, Nigeria
M. A. Hula and B. T. Tyubee
Journal Title:Journal of Environmental Issues and Agriculture in Developing Countries
The decline in forest cover of Ikwe Forest Reserve at Igbor, Benue State, Nigeria is analysed using Satellite Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS). Landsat 5 TM data of December 12, 1986 and Landsat 7 ETM+ data of December 19, 2016 covering the study area are acquired for analysis. Six land use/land cover (LULC) types, comprising three forests (forest gallery, light forest and shrub) and three non-forests (marsh, eroded surface and bare surface) types are derived from both imageries. To analyse changes in LULC types from 1986 – 2016, the LULC image of 2016 is overlaid with that of 1986. The result indicates that there is a decline in forest cover, comprising forest gallery, light forest and shrub by 375ha (39%), marsh by 136ha (34%), eroded surface/built up area by 44ha (25%) from 1986-2016. However, the area of bare surface, representing forest clearings or deforested areas, has increased by 555ha (112%). Similarly, only 87ha (6%) of forest cover has appeared over deforested areas within the period of study. The result indicates a net decline in forest cover of 288ha (33%) and an annual decline rate of 2.8% respectively. Integrating the local communities in conserving the forest resources of the resort will aid in combating the forest decline. Such communities should be provided with agriculture and other economic incentives such as subsidized fertilizers, improved seedlings, pesticides and herbicides, preservation and storage facilities.