Changing Pattern of Land Use in the Calabar River Catchment, Southeastern Nigeria

  •  Joel Efiong    


Rapidly increasing human populations and expanding agricultural activities have brought about extensive land use changes throughout the world. Though human beings have been modifying land to obtain food, shelter and other essentials of life for thousands of years, current rates, extents and intensities of such modifications are far greater than ever in history and continue undocumented. This study examined the various land uses, the changes that have occurred and the rates of such changes in the Calabar river catchment between 1967 and 2008. Data for the study were obtained from both the topographic maps and satellite imagery. The following mosaic of land uses- built-up, plantation, fallow land/scattered cultivation, high forest, low forest mangrove, river and quarry- were identified. High forest was the most affected of the land uses, decreasing by 29.92 per cent at the rate of 0.73 per cent year-1 (or loss of 11 045.51 m2year-1). The current pattern of change in the land use is not sustainable. Hence, reforestation has been recommended, particularly in the lower segment of the catchment to enhance sustainability.

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