Spatial and temporal analysis of forest cover change in Falgore Game Reserve in Kano, Nigeria

Multi-temporal land-use and land-cover data provides a historical vehicle for determining and evaluating long-term trends in bio-physical landscapes. Land-use and land-cover assessment and mapping is one of the most useful applications of geographic information system (GIS) for planning, management, and development. This study analyses the spatio-temporal pattern of forest cover dynamics for three decades in Falgore Game Reserve in Kano, Nigeria. The dynamics of forest cover transition during 1985–2015 was analysed using multi-temporal Landsat imagery. The spatio-temporal analysis shows that moderate woodland dominated in 1985 (46%) and 2005 (57%) but was replaced by open woodland in 2015 which accounts for 58% of the total area of Falgore Game Reserve (FGR) currently. Dense woodland occupied the least area of the total forest estate that varied between 17% in 1985 and 1% in 2015. The results indicate that dense woodland, moderate woodland, and very open woodland were decreased at annual average rate of 3, 1, and 0.4%. Open woodland had expanded from 21,127 ha in 1985 to 53,392 ha in 2015. The main drivers of forest resource degradation in the area were found to be excessive fuelwood collection, overgrazing, agricultural expansion, and forest fire. These findings suggest that protection strategies employed in FGR were not effective as deforestation is still evident in the reserve. Government and environmental based NGOs should therefore prioritize effective and efficient conservation strategy for present and future use of forest resources, in addition to the provision of alternative livelihood sources to communities proximate to the reserve. This will ensure the socio-economic well-being of the locals and sustainable conservation of biological diversity in the area.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
West Africa
RUFORUM Journal Articles
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
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Project sponsor: 
RUFORUM (Grant no. RU/2012/DRS/01); Carnegie Corporation of New York
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