Dynamics of Forest Landscape Transition across Protected Areas in the Niger Delta from 1986 to 2014


The overall aim of this study was to conduct a spatially explicit study of forest cover changes across 13 selected protected areas (PAs) across the study area using a combination of satellite remote sensing and ground data. The objectives of the study included: determine the spatial extent of forest landscape for selected PAs using three epochs of satellite imagery (1986, 2000 and 2014); determine the spatial extent and rates of forest transition over two 14-year periods (1986 to 2000 and 2000 to 2014); and provide a comprehensive summary of current forest landscape status in the study area. The results indicated that the spatial extent of forest landscape for the 13 FRs was 522,164, 481,870 and 457,651 hectares in 1986, 2000 and 2014 respectively. The forest cover transition for the two 14-year periods investigation showed a larger percentage of forest landscape across the 13 FRs were more affected by deforestation in comparison to afforestation. The overall annual deforestation rates for the PAs were 0.82% and 0.68% for 1986 to 2000 and 2000 to 2014 time periods. The annual afforestation rates for both 14-year periods were 0.38% and 0.39% respectively. Based on the results being obtained there was an urgent need to review the ways forest reserves and national parks in Cross River state were managed. The promotion of forest conservation was vital to the preservation of existing forest landscapes and endangered wildlife, such as the Cross River Gorilla gorilla and Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees. The role of community participation with the assistance of government and conservation organizations would prove effective in forest monitoring activities across the state. In conclusion, results of this study showed the potential of incorporating satellite remote sensing and ground truth data for better understanding the spatial dynamics of forest cover in PAs across the Niger Delta region.

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Onojeghuo, A. and Onojeghuo, A. (2015) Dynamics of Forest Landscape Transition across Protected Areas in the Niger Delta from 1986 to 2014. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 3, 1-10. doi: 10.4236/gep.2015.37001.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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