Application of Gis in Natural Resourse Management

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  • Topic: Geographic information system, Spatial analysis, Enugu State
  • Pages : 33 (10829 words )
  • Download(s) : 168
  • Published : May 21, 2012
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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background
Natural resources play a critical role in the welfare of developing countries (Huizing etal, 2002). For many developing countries, natural resources are the base upon which all life depends. However, many developing countries have experienced and continue to experience severe degradation of their natural resources. Expansion in technology, population and economic activities have led to accelerated and unsustainable exploitation and depletion of natural resources (satapathy etal., 2008). This degradation, especially of forest cover has led to diminishing soil fertility, soil erosion, increase severity of the impact of drought, and the further reduction in the ability to produce food and other biological resources demanded by the human and animal population (ibid ) Nigeria is not an exception with reference to these problems. It is facing serious land and environmental degradation due to increasing anthropogenic pressure on its natural resources (Ministry of Environment 2002). The vast natural resources found in Nigeria have been important to its economy and its people; however, their exploitation has resulted in severe land and environmental degradation in many parts of the country. To address these problems the Nigerian government adopted a national conservation strategy in 1988 through the Federal Environmental protection Agency act of 1988 (FEPAAct) and the Subsequent Environmental Impact Assessment Act of 1992 (EIAAct) Anchored by the ministry of environment. The main aims of the ministry as stipulated in the act are to identify environmental problems and issues, to analyze their causes and to recommend appropriate action for their resolution. Currently, this act forms the policy framework for environmental intervention and management. The Ministry recognizes six priority environmental problems (Ministry environment 1999). These include soil degradation, deforestation, desertification, water pollution, air pollution in mining towns and wildlife depletion. However, in all cases reliable information about the extent and degree of environmental problem is critically lacking (ibid). While it has been recognized that natural resources have been on the decline, estimates of the size of decline and the remaining stocks are based on the 1980 inventories, the nationwide average deforestation is estimated between 250,000 to 300,000 hectares per year with an average deforestation rate of 0.5 % (Ministry Environment 2002). However more recent studies (Akinbami, 2003; Omofunwan, 2005) have estimated higher rates ranging from 450,000 to 500,000 hectares per year. Because of the lack of comprehensive and reliable data, the management of Nigeria’s natural resources is neither accurate nor efficient. The use of conventional methods for mapping and estimating the extent of the decline of the remaining stocks and the degree of environmental problems is relatively costly and time consuming, and is subject to a variety of errors of different types and sources (Ononiwu, 2002). Therefore, there is an urgent need for alternative technologies to collect relevant, reliable and accurate spatial natural resource data and build intergraded spatial databases that should provide a basis for the analysis of diverse environmental problems. In this thesis, the application of Geographic information systems GIS and remote sensing data is suggested as a potential means in dealing with this complexity. Several researchers like, Goodchild (1993), Yilma (2004), satapathy etal (2008) and Johnson, etal (2008) have endorsed the potential significance of GIS and remote sensing technology in natural resource management and planning. According to Johnson, etal (2008), GIS and remote sensing also offer the potential to solve many natural resource problems by providing a means of generating information, regular monitoring and analysis to predict and visualize future scenarios and helping managers in...
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