Mapping Land Use and Land Cover in parts of the Niger Delta for Effective Planning and Administration [ ]

This research paper presents an analysis of land cover/land use characteristics within some coastal states in the Niger Delta as a basis for critical long term regional land use planning. The objective of the study is to help administrators in identifying high priority development and conservation zones including areas of production potentials for cropping pattern and specific areas necessary for land use optimization. The land use/ land cover mapping of the study area revealed a cluster of urban settlements at the center of each of the three states. A cluster settlement is an indicator of organized human habitation within which socio-economic activities (transportation systems, communication, administrative system and education) and other developmental activities revolve around. This study identified 13 significant cluster settlements with 6 of the clusters occurring within Akwa Ibom State, 4 in Rivers State and 3 in Bayelsa state. These clusters are settlement areas of dense habitation ranging from 63.5 Sq. Km to 581 Sq. Km with the largest occurring in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The Land use analysis within the study area shows a high pressure on forest resources over other land resources (such as farm and grass land). Among the three states covered wthin this study, Rivers State has the highest forest resources, while Bayelsa State has the highest water resources.