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Forest Cover Dynamics of a Lowland Rainforest in Southwestern Nigeria Using GIS and Remote Sensing Techniques

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Document pages: 15 pages

Abstract: The rate of forest degradation and deforestation in Nigeria has been increasing over the years and is prominent in the southwestern parts. Despite the significant change and degradation observed in a lowland rainforest in the region—Ogbese Forest Reserve, there is a great dearth of information about the level of forest cover change. Therefore, this study determined the cover dynamics of the rainforest reserve over the epoch of 20 years using Geographic Information System and remote sensing techniques. Coordinates of the boundary and some other benchmark places within the forest reserve were obtained. Secondary data collection included: Landsat imageries of 1998, 2002 and 2018. An interview guide was used to obtain information from forest officials and locals of the surrounding communities to complement the spatial data obtained. Image classification was done using the maximum likelihood algorithm. The rate of change across the epochs was determined using the area of the land cover classes. The level of vegetation disturbance in the reserve was determined through Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. Five different forest cover classes were identified in the study area: forest, plantation, farmland, grassland, and bare land. The natural forest reduced significantly from 34.43 km2 (48 ) in 1998 to 8.73 km2 (12 ) in 2002 and was depleted further by 2018, while other cover classes increased. NDVI value also reduced from 0.25 to 0.13. Agriculture, among others, was observed as the main driver of forest degradation and deforestation in Ogbese Forest Reserve. The study concluded that the remaining forest (i.e. plantation) could also be depleted by 2025, as it decreases by −0.94 km2 per year if proper reforestation and management practices are not introduced.

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