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GIS and Remote Sensing Applications in the Assessment of Change within a Coastal Environment in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
Center for Hydrology, Soil Climatology, and Remote Sensing, Department of Plant and Soil Science, P.O. Box 1208, Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL 35762, USA
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS 39211, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 August 2005; Accepted: 6 March 2006 / Published: 31 March 2006
Abstract: In the last decades, the Niger Delta region has experienced rapid growth in population and economicv activity with enormous benefits to the adjacent states and the entire Nigerian society. As the region embarks upon an unprecedented phase of economic expansion in the 21st century, it faces several environmental challenges fuelled partly by the pressures caused by human activities such as oil and gas exploration, housing development, and road construction for transportation, economic development and demographic changes. This continued growth has resulted in environmental problems such as coastal wetland loss, habitat degradation, and water pollution, gas flaring, destruction of forest vegetation as well as a host of other issues. This underscores the urgent need to design new approaches for managing remote costal resources in sensitive tropical environments effectively in order to maintain a balance between coastal resource conservation and rapid economic development in developing countries for sustainability. Notwithstanding previous initiatives, there have not been any major efforts in the literature to undertake a remote sensing and GIS based assessment of the growing incidence of environmental change within coastal zone environments of the study area. This project is an attempt to fill that void in the literature by exploring the applications of GIS and remote sensing in a tropical coastal zone environment with emphasis on the environmental impacts of development in the Niger Delta region of Southern Nigeria. To deal with some of the aforementioned issues, several research questions that are of great relevance to the paper have been posed. The questions include, Have there been any changes in the coastal environment of the study area? What are the impacts of the changes? What forces are responsible for the changes? Has there been any major framework in place to deal with the changes? The prime objective of the paper is to provide a novel approach for assessing the state of coastal environments while the second objective seeks a contribution to the literature. The third objective is to provide a decision support tool for coastal resource managers in the assessment of environmental impacts of development in tropical areas. The fourth objective is to assess the extent of change in a tropical ecosystem with the latest advances in geo-spatial information technologies and methods. In terms of methodology, the paper draws from primary and census data sources analyzed with descriptive statistics, GIS techniques and remote sensing. The sections in the paper consist of a review of the major environmental effects and factors associated with the problem: initiatives and mitigation measures. The project offers some recommendations as part of the conservation strategies. In spite of concerted efforts by managers to address the problems, results revel that the study area experienced some significant changes in its coastal environments. These changes are attributed to socio-economic and environmental variables.
Keywords: Remote sensing; GIS; Coastal Environment; Environmental Change; Niger Delta
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Twumasi, Y.A.; Merem, E.C. GIS and Remote Sensing Applications in the Assessment of Change within a Coastal Environment in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2006, 3, 98-106.
Twumasi YA, Merem EC. GIS and Remote Sensing Applications in the Assessment of Change within a Coastal Environment in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2006; 3(1):98-106.
Twumasi, Yaw A.; Merem, Edmund C. 2006. "GIS and Remote Sensing Applications in the Assessment of Change within a Coastal Environment in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 3, no. 1: 98-106.