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The goal of this study is to use remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to regulate land use in the Greater Karu Urban Area in Nasarawa State. Specific goals include creating a land use/cover map of the study region from 1972 to 2012,

determining the rate and amount of change, determining the suitability of the land for various purposes, and determining the level of encroachment within allowed setback areas.

Satellite images from 1972, 1987, 2000, and 2012 from Landsat MSS, TM, ETM, and Spot-5 was used. A supervised classification approach was also employed with the ILWIS 3.3 version. The following land use/cover types were identified: built-up areas, water bodies, agricultural land, vegetation, rock out crops, and bare surfaces.

The appropriateness analysis used Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis and Analytical Hierarchical Process, as well as Euclidean distance and weighted overlay from the spatial analyst tool of ArcGIS 9.3 programme.

The rules were adopted in accordance with the Land Use Act Cap 202 of 1990 and the Nigeria Urban and Regional Planning Act of 1990 to monitor and control all allowed setbacks.

The analysis found that the increase in built-up area resulted in the following changes in other land use/cover categories between 1972 and 2012: Between 1972 and 1987, natural vegetation decreased from 68.9% to 52.9%.

Between 1997 and 2012, it fell from 34.3% to 25.4%. Between 1972 and 1987, agricultural land increased from 8.7% to 19.1%. Between 1997 and 2012, the percentage fell from 25.9% to 15.2%. Between 1972 and 1987, bare surfaces increased from 7.8% to 9.1%.

Between 1997 and 2012, the percentage fell from 12.2% to 11.6%. Between 1972 and 1987, the percentage of rock outcrops increased from 2.9% to 3.0%. Between 1997 and 2012, the rate increased from 3.0% to 3.1%. Water bodies covered 10.6% of the land area in 1972, then decreased to 6.1% in 1987 before rebounding to 7.7% in 1997 and then decreasing by 5.8% in 2012.

The most dramatic rise in built-up area occurred between 1990 and 2012, corresponding with the move of the Federal Capital Territory from Lagos to Abuja in 1991. The following are the consequences of haphazard growth and encroachment of built-up areas into the allowed setbacks of road networks and water bodies:

Highway: 2.5468 square kilometres, local distributors: 1.305 square kilometres, access roads/streets: 1.345 square kilometres, rivers: 48 square kilometres. As a result, it advises the Nasarawa State Government and planners to adopt the final suitability maps for debates and decision making in the area’s development. In the absence of that, it is advised that the final suitability map be used to guide development in the region.

The cornerstone of all human endeavour is land. It provides humanity with food, housing, and room to work and relax. Land is one of humanity’s most prized resources. It is a way of life that is essential to our survival and advancement (Dale, Peter, and John, 1988).

Man’s most valuable resource is land. It is his means of survival, without which he would not have lived, and on which his survival and advancement are dependent.

The term “land” has several meanings. It is a landscape created by natural processes, the result of geological and geomorphologic processes, according to physical geographers. To an economist, it is a resource that, like money and labour, must be utilised to accomplish economic production and development or conserved to ensure future biodiversity.

To a lawyer, land is a volume of space that extends from the centre of the earth to the infinite in the sky, and it is associated with a number of rights that govern what can be done with it. To many, it is just the area for human activities, as seen by the various forms of land usage.

FAO (1976) defined land as a definable area of the earth’s terrestrial surface encompassing all biosphere attributes immediately above or below this surface, including those of the near-surface climate, soil, terrain forms, surface hydrology (including shallow lakes,

rivers, marshes, and swamps) and associated ground water and geo-hydrological reserve, plant and animal populations, human settlement pattern, and physical results of past and present human activities.

Land is the physical environment of the earth’s surface made up of soils, topography and underlying geology, hydrology, plant and animal population, and vegetation, all of which have an impact on prospective land use (Harcombe, 2010).

Land is necessary for a variety of purposes in both urban and rural regions. It is a major factor of production and a critical component of every country’s socioeconomic growth (Dent and Young, 1981).

According to studies, the quality of land is a significant aspect for diverse land uses; consequently, as nations grow in size and rural areas become urban centres and urban centres become big metropolitan areas, competition and demand for land for various purposes increases.

This necessitates proper management in order to ensure the harmonious development and functional efficiency of these uses (Sodeinde, 2002). The usage of land by humans has been shown to influence the structure and functioning of the ecosystem.

Cultivation, construction, reserves, protected areas, and timber extraction are the most spatially and economically significant human uses of land on a worldwide scale. Settlements have recently become substantial active land use changes, particularly in developing countries of the world. This necessitates competent land management (Amos, 1986).

The need for thoughtful and careful stewardship of the land, as well as more intensive use and management of its resources, has emerged as a major global concern as a result of rapid population growth, which has caused increasing pressure on land, while a massive migration of people to cities and towns has resulted in the uncontrolled growth of urban centres (Dele et al., 1988).

Land use management, as defined by Mabogunje (1992), Durand-Lasserve (1990), and Kombe (1995), is defined as processes that involve various stakeholders in the planning, facilitation, and control of land use and subsequent activities in the interest of sustainable development.

Land use management comprises making judgements regarding land and putting those decisions into action. Making basic policy decisions about the form and scope of investment is part of land use management. The scope of land use management includes private and public sectors that develop and use land;

law that establishes rules and procedures in the management system; agencies at various levels of government that make decisions on how land may be used; and plans that inform decisions on how land may be used (Nags and Kudrat, 1998).

Land use management can be stated in terms of three value sets (ecological, social, and market values) that must be balanced through land planning (Sui, 1992).

The analysis of land features in identifying suitable property for development can play an important role in the planning process. The optimal utilisation of land for the benefit of society is one of the numerous concerns of urban planners in regulating the spatial layout of activities (Shuaib, 2005).

This requires a technique for analysing accessible alternatives because it entails making selections between available options. Alternatives for development typically begin with consideration for buildable land, but this is not always the case. “i.e. land on which if developments are installed would not have detrimental or adverse effects on the environment” .

The process of finding such land is the evaluation of the suitability of land tracks for development. Land suitability analysis necessitates the integration of many data sets in order to predict land use needs and land characteristics for the alternatives (Shuaib, 2005).

Almost every African country has a history of land use management systems extending back to their own colonial periods. However, formal land use regulation in Nigeria began in 1863,

when the Colonial Government passed the Town Improvement Ordinance. The law was intended to restrict development and urban sanitation in Lagos, Nigeria’s Federal Capital at the time.

Modern land use management, on the other hand, may be traced back to 1946, when the Nigerian Town and Country Ordinance was enacted (Mabogunje, 1992). Bernstein (1994),

Hardoy and Satterthwaite (2001) cited the general inefficiency associated with the majority of developing countries’ land policies, the absence of secure tenure, and insufficient land use management capacity as serious problems precipitating Nigeria’s existing land use crises.

The often-destructive influence of human activity on the land in recent times has resulted in a global need for more careful management of land use and natural resources at a sustainable level.

In Nigeria, a number of policies affecting urban land use management have been formulated and implemented. The Land Use Act of 1978, the Urban Development Policy of 1992, the Urban and Regional Planning Act, and the Housing and Urban Development Policy of 2002 are examples.

Land use planning and control strategies have also been implemented to improve urban land use planning and development (Aribigbola, 2008). Despite the existence of these laws and policies,

land use management issues persist in Nasarawa State’s Karu area. As a result, there is a need for a greater knowledge of the issues as well as articulating how to enhance the area’s existing inadequate land use management approaches.

Suitability is an important factor in evaluating land use management in regional land-use planning. Its main goal is to assess the benefits and drawbacks of development in specific locations in order to determine which areas are most suited for future land use development.

Recent research have shown that Geographic Information System, Remote Sensing, and numerical modelling approaches are effective tools for assessing appropriateness for land use management (Ahmed et al., 2000).

GIS is a valuable tool in land use management. To aid decision-making, the demands of various stakeholders are analysed, visualised, and presented. Spatial Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is a popular tool for determining land-use decisions. This method incorporates all relevant spatial parameters to produce a map with the optimal location for a specific type of land-use.

The purpose of MCDA is usually to determine the best location for residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial use. Furthermore, existing Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSS), which are decision-making systems that apply spatial MCDA, frequently focus on a certain form of land-use, such as urban development.

When applying land-use suitability to an area, it should include both urban and agricultural land-uses. This research is designed to employ remote sensing and GIS to integrate land-use appropriateness,

spanning all key land-use categories (urban and agriculture), in land use management of the Greater Karu Urban Area in Nasarawa State, Nigeria.

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