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                                          CHAPTER ONE

                                        INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY:

Consumption and concomitant environmental degradation are among the most pressing global issues confronting us today. Forested areas are especially sensitive to population pressure and commercial exploitation. At a local level, once the trees are felled, the highly productive potential of that region is immediately threatened, since the quality of the soils is generally poor. It is in the mass of vegetation that the nutrients essential to fast growth are stored so that, if the vegetation cover is removed, organic breakdown is almost immediate and nutrients are quickly washed away. When large gaps in the forest canopy occur, the microclimate of the area is also likely to be changed and the forest floor becomes exposed to direct sunlight. Consequently, both air and soil become dry, to the direct detriment of the land’s unproductive. Because of these factors, not only has the forest’s capacity to provide fuel, food, fodder and shelter been removed, but so has the land’s capacity to regenerate them. Degradation is further increased through soil erosion.  It is interesting to note that ecosystem has the strongest impact on per capita consumption, followed by urbanization and literacy rates. For years, ecological science has shown how large-scale forest clearings cause declines in biodiversity and the availability of forest products. Yet some important changes in the rainforests, and in the ecosystem services they provide, have been underappreciated. Land use in recent times has gone far beyond clearing large areas of forest; selective logging and other canopy damage is much more pervasive than once believed. As a result of damages cause by degradation,  however the adverse effect of this degradation is mostly suffered by the riverine area. That wetlands can improve watershed water quality, their capacity to process pollutants without becoming degraded cannot be exceeded. Many wetlands have suffered functional degradation, although it is difficult to calculate the magnitude of the degradation. Wetlands are threatened by air and water pollutants and by hydrologic alteration (USEPA 1994b). Some researchers believe that a significant percentage of the nation’s remaining wetlands has been substantially compromised hydrologically (Whigham 1988; Dahl and Johnson 1991). Measurements of the frequency or magnitude of such degradation have not been attempted to any significant degree of resent.

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS

Environmental degradation on land used of recent has been a source of concern globally, this is because since the advent of globalization and industrialization land as a factor of production has always been limited in supply, and the demand for it has been on the increase globally. It is on this note that the researcher intends to investigate the effect of environmental degradation on the use of land in riverine areas in Nigeria.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to research on the effect of environmental degradation on land use. But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher put forward the following sub-objectives:

  1. To evaluate the effect of environmental degradation on land use.
  2. To ascertain the causes of environmental degradation.
  3. To asses possible ways of eliminating the causes of environmental degradation.
  4. To ascertain the impact of environmental degradation on land.

1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

H There is no significance relationship between the effect of environmental degradation and the use of land.

H 1:   There is significance relationship between the effects of environmental degradation and use of land.

HO:   There is no significant impact of environmental degradation on land use.

H2:   There is significant impact of environmental degradation on land use.

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

At the end of the research work, the findings would be of immense help to ministry of land and housing who are responsible for the allocation of land for commercial and private use. It is also believed that the study will be of great importance to ministry of environment who are charged with the responsibility of effectively planning and managing the ecosystem. The study would equally be of help to the researchers and academia who are researching on the effect of environmental degradation on the use of land. The study would also be of help to teachers, students, lecturers, academia’s and the general public.

1.6 SCOPES AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the effect of environmental degradation on land use in riverine area. However, the study has some constraint which are as follows:

Availability research materials: materials that the researcher require for the study was unavailable for the research work.

Time factor: Time was allocated to the research work by the institution was limited, hence the researcher could not expand the scope of the study.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

DEGRADATION:  From the research, degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as water air, and soil, the destruction of ecosystems, habitat destruction, the extinction of wildlife, and pollution. It is defined as any change or disturbance to the environment perceived to be deleterious or undesirable.

ECOSYSTEM: An ecosystem from this research is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.

RIVERINE: From the study, riverine is relating to system of inland wetlands and deep-water habitats associated with nontidal flowing water, characterized by the absence of trees, shrubs, or emergent vegetation.

ABIOTIC FACTOR:  abiotic components or abiotic factors are non-living chemical and physical parts of the environment that affect living organisms and the functioning of ecosystems.

BIOTIC FACTOR: Biotic factor from the study, are non-living components that influence population size and the environment. Examples of abiotic factors are: temperaturelight intensity, moisture and water levels, air currents, carbon dioxide levels and the pH of water and soil.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF STUDY

The study covers five chapters. Chapter one takes a general look at the background of the study, statement of problem from the research, objectives of the study, hypotheses of the study, significance of the study, scopes and limitations of the study, definition of terms as well as organization of study. Chapter two deals with the literature review of the research, Chapter three focuses on the study Area of the research work, Chapter four assess the effect of degradation of riverine area, while chapter five takes a look at the summary of the study, suggestions recommendation, and conclusion of the study.

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