Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 391

Full Length Research Paper

An overview of land cover changes in Nigeria, 1975 - 2005

I. I. Abbas
Department of Geography, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Published: 30 April 2007



The pattern of land cover changes between 1975 and 2005 strongly indicated loss of prime arable lands which is in turn leading to the opening up of new virgin land towards the south. In the northern and the middle parts of the country, the cereal productive Sudan Savannah ecology is transiting to pure Sahel and the influence of the Sahara is increasing southwards. In the same vein, the root and the tuber productive ecology of the Guinea Savannah is giving way to Sudan Savannah grassland. The predominant Fulani herdsman of the lower Sahel and Sudan Savannah ecologies is moving south to the Guinea Savannah and Forest belt of the South to find greener pasture for his herds.  This is not acceptable to the root and tuber farmers of the Guinea Savannah that is already farming close to the margin of cultivation.  He has the fears that Fulani herds will destroy his farm-lands. The natural result is clash over right to the lands. This paper therefore looks at the land cover changes in Nigeria between 1975 and 2005 with a view to explaining this scenario.


Key words: Land cover, land use, pattern, afforestation, degradation.