Indices of Land Degradation and Control Measures in Selected Urban Communities of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

Indices of Land Degradation and Control Measures in Selected Urban Communities of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

O. A. Lawal-Adebowle (Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria) and A. K. Aromolaran (Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Federal, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSESD.2015100104
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The study assessed the causal factors of land degradation in urban areas of Abeokuta and the employed control measures by residents of the communities. A qualitative approach, which encompasses observational techniques – participant/field observation, interactive discussion and photographic capturing, was used for collection of data on land degradation in the study area. Analysis of collected data showed land gradients, rainfall and run-offs, erosion, entrenched foot paths, sand scraping/mining, poor/absence of drainage system and land covers as causal factors of land degradation in the study area. The study though observed that control measures such as filling of drenches with sand bags, wood logs, bricks and stones were employed by residents in the study area, construction of good drainage system was presumed to be the most appropriate and sustainable control measure of water erosion in the study area.
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Land constitutes a natural asset of great value to mankind; and as described by United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification – UNCCD (2012), land is a natural ally and a lifetime earth’s infrastructure which of course is crucial, not only to mankind’s socioeconomic wellbeing, but germane to living a quality life. Attainment of such quality life is however made possible by man’s exploration and exploitation of the natural resource-base of land for farming, construction of housing and industrial units, roads and other essential infrastructure. Although, there is a multiple and growing demands for land among the residents of urban, rural and remote areas across the globe, the geo-natural asset, as opined by Safriel and Adeel (2005);.Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency – NEAA (2009), is central to nexus of energy, food, water, and environmental health in an interdependent loop. In other words, land is exploited for food, fibre and fuel production; settlements, environmental services and infrastructure development to the benefit of man. With this central role of land in human sustenance and quality living, it affirms that land provides a foundation for socioeconomic activities and wellbeing of man.

In view of the central role of land in the man’s social and economic development, the geo-natural asset becomes greatly prized by man as fundamental to global prosperity (UNCCD, 2012); and for the fact that available land cannot be readily expanded, careful and appropriate use of land and its resource-base are conscientiously maintained and sustained for quality living and sustainable livelihood. Against this background is however the destructive appearances of land and its resource-base in human society across the globe. Such destructiveness or degradation is believed to have been brought about by biophysical activities which ranged across natural forces – rainfall and run-off, erosion; land topography, population pressure and human activities, unsuitable land use and inappropriate management (Bojö, 1996; Stocking & Murnaghan, 2000; Bai, Dent, Olsson & Schaepman, 2007; Lal, 2011; Food and Agriculture Organisation – FAO, 2011.). Irrespective of the contributory effects of each of the biophysical activities human activities such as land clearing and deforestation, soil depleting-farming practices, overgrazing, soil mining and land quarrying, and commercial development and urban sprawling directly cause land degradation (Mainguet & da Silva, 1998; Scherr & Yadav, 2001; Diao & Saprong, 2007; Absolute Astronomy, 2010). These causal indices of land degradation are though common in a global perspective, incidents of each or some of them vary from one region to the other. In the light of this was Arifin (n.d.); Bai et al (2008) indication of intensive land-use practices, population pressure and regional characteristics of agro-ecological settings as contributory factors to land degradation in Indonesia. Lumb (n.d.) indicated broad scale removal of vegetation and traditional farming without understanding regional or local limitations as predominant cause of land degradation in Australia. In the Nigerian context, Omotayo (2002) designated population pressure, increased urbanisation, climate change and economic policies of the Nigerian Government as underlying factors for the experienced changes in the Nigeria’s physical landscape in the last couple of decades.

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