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This study attempts to characterize the key land uses in Ile-Ife. The study aims at
identifying the key land uses in Ile-Ife, producing a land characterization map of Ile-Ife and
obtaining information about the key land cover and land uses from remote sources.
In order to achieve the above aim, we undergo land use surveys so as to familiarize
ourselves with the study area and take coordinates of important features needed in the
characterization process.
Landsat Enhanced Thematic mapper (2002) imagery of Ile-Ife is obtained from
secondary sources and classified into key land uses and covers based on the information
gathered in the field using ILWIS 3.2, an image processing software; each layer or segment
of land cover types and land use types are created by digitization in the ILWIS 3.2
environment and the statistics of each layer or segment of the digitzied image is also
displayed in ILWIS 3.2 environment. The layers or segments of the digitized image
representing the various land use cover types and land use types are exported to Arcview
GIS 3.2a were they are overlain to produce a land characterization map of Ile-Ife.
In the course of our study, we identified five key land cover types in Ile-Ife; they
include Built-Up Areas or Built-Up settlements, Vegetation, Bare Soil, Water Body and
Wetland. We also identified three key land use types; they include Residential,
Commercial, and Institutional Land Use areas.
Based on the image analysis, the estimated total land area of the study area is
approximately 668.83 Km2 with 407.07Km2 (61.16%) of it covered by Vegetation, mostly
secondary vegetation. About 172.59Km2 (25.81%) is covered by residential built-up
settlements, about 37.63 Km2 (5.63%) is covered by institutional built-up settlements, about
35.27 Km 2 (5.27%) is covered by Bare soil, about 8.00 Km2 (1.20%) is covered by wetlands, about 5.29 Km2 (0.79%) is covered by commercial built-up settlements while
remaining 0.15% ( about 0.98 Km2) is covered by pockets of water bodies. The total area of
built-up settlements in Ile-Ife put together is about 215.51 Km2 representing about 32.22%
of the total land in the area.
Although, vegetation covers most of the ground surface of the study area (about
61.16%), the ecosystem of the study area is still under threat because of the secondary
nature of the vegetation and the continuous rise in land use for urban purposes; therefore an
efficient land use planning structure that makes use of relevant technologies and
information such as that which this study is designed to produce need be put in place to
ensure sustainability of the environment and its capacity to continue to support life.



1.1 Introduction
The term “Land Use” is usually used to describe the different kinds of uses that portions of land are put to. It has often been used interchangeably with the term “Land Cover” although they differ in meaning. Land Cover refers to the surface cover on the ground or the physical state of the land surface; which may be in form of vegetation or urban infrastructures such as buildings, churches, schools, asphalt laid roads, concrete floors and pavements and features such as water, bare soil, wetland, swamp, Mangrove, rocky surfaces etc while land use refers to the purpose the land serves or the purpose the land is used for; examples include recreational land uses such as wildlife and game parks and reserves, amusement parks, hotels, holiday Inns, hotels, brothels, motels etc.
Land use usually involves human modification of the natural environment as wilderness into built up environments such as fields, Pastures and settlements. Land use can be defined as the total arrangements, activities and inputs that people undertake in a certain land cover type [FAO, 1997a; FAO/UNEP, 1999].
1.11 Land Use Issues
Land use is crucial because it directly touches on issues relating to man‟s survival on earth. Man through his use of land to secure livelihood has destroyed the environment which is the basis of his livelihood in the first instance.
Over the last three centuries, it has been observed that human population had continue to grow at a rate that is astronomical when compared to the limited nature of the resources available within reach to cater for the growing population. In 1798, English
clergymen and College Professor Robert Thomas Malthus in his Essay “the principle of
population” postulated that “man can only increase its means of subsistence at an
arithmetic progression while population increased at a geometric progression” and
suggested measures for checking such astronomical population increase so as to be able
to slow down the increase to march the level of subsistence. Numerous scholars had
argued that the persistence of such a scenario as these can cause the depletion of the
resources that once supported man‟s livelihood on earth to an extent that he can no longer
do so due to the wanton destruction of the environment. It has also been noted that such
wanton destruction could result in a widespread outbreak of hunger, famine, diseases and
pestilence which could also lead to conflict as it is the case today in many parts of Africa.
Land is “ a delineable area of the earth‟s terrestrial surface, encompassing
all attributes of the biosphere immediately above and below this surface including nearsurface
climate, the soil and terrain forms, the surface hydrology (including shallow
lakes, rivers, marshes and swamps), the near surface sedimentary layers and associated
ground water reserves, the plant and animal populations, the human settlement pattern
and physical results of past and present human activity such as terracing, water storage or
drainage structures, infrastructures, buildings” [UN,1995] and not just the solid part of
the earth or the medium or bedrock on which man depends for the provision of his
physical, economic, religious and cultural wants or needs. This definition of land
encompasses all the attributes and aspect of resources needed for the survival, subsistence
and sustenance of its growing population on earth. Basic human needs and wants include shelter, Clothing, housing, food, wealth, money, Comfort, warmth, cultural and religious
A school of thought referred to as Marxists believe that population problems are
not due to population increase but unequal distribution of resources and all of such
resources are tied to land by the UN definition making land use an indispensable issue or
subject matter in many fields of sciences designed to proffer solutions to human
1.111 Issues in Land Use
Man uses land for varieties of purposes which satisfies his varieties of
wants and needs; such wants and needs are usually for physical, economic, cultural or
even religious purposes and are essential for man‟s survival and continued existence.
Consequently, Land had always been in high demand and such demands had always
increased with increase in population.
Land is fixed, immobile and irreplaceable in nature, limited in availability
and by boundaries as opposed to the belief that it is limitless and inexhaustible. At the
rate at which land is being used, there may be nothing left for the coming generation and
so the fear of exhaustion of land and land resources within delimited territories is the first
issue in land use and the need to control its use within such boundaries is the second and
this requires proper planning and implementation.
Planning for land use in a way that its execution will both be environmental and
human friendly is the third major issue in land use. It should be noted in planning of
whatever form that plans are meant for man and not man for plans i.e. that plans are made
for man by man to help man and so a plan that is not altogether environmentally, socially and economically friendly in tackling man‟s problem is not fit for implementation.
Principles such as suitability of the environment for a certain use considering its local
physical, social and economic characteristics, optimization of whatever use land is been
put to and sustainability of whatever land use is proposed to ensure that the future of the
environment to run itself and support the continuity of human life is not compromised are
to be taken into consideration in planning and execution of projects for a better, more
productive and sustainable environment. However the principles mentioned above are
known to constitute the other issues in land use and they are thus issues of suitability,
issues of optimization of use and issues of sustainability.
1.112 Concept of Land Use an Environmental Concept
Many fields have evolved in the environmental sciences as man continues to
strive to understand himself and the environment enough to be able to effectively control
his resources for the common good of all in a way that its present needs and wants will be
satisfied without compromising the future capacity of the environment to run itself
continuously according to the natural order of life without being alienated and the future
capacity of the environment to support the continuity of human life on it (earth).
The term “Land use” had continue to find its way into very many environmental
fields of studies namely ecology, Biodiversity studies, Planning, Resource Management
and economic planning, Climatology, meteorology, hydrology, geomorphology etc
because it affects every element of the natural environment which are the subject matter
that those disciplines study.
Land use offsets the balance of the ecosystem which man is a component of. Land
use is one of the determinants of the distribution and prevalence of species on earth. Land use practices produces and releases gases into the atmospheres that degrades the local,
regional and global air and precipitation quality and contributes to global warming. Land
use is a major determinant of hydrological processes and balance; it is capable of causing
a change in the course of hydrological processes or shifts in hydrological balance. Land
use is major determinant of the quality of water in basins; discharge rate, recharge rate
and volume of basins per time. Land use is one of the agents that influences the
distribution and formation of land forms and slopes in whatever environment whether
tropical, humid, temperate or Polar Regions and one of the factors that aid the agents of
land form formation such as wind, wave, ice and running water.
Increased Land use causes expansion of urban facilities and leapfrog development
into neighbouring boundaries (urban sprawl); this cause boundary violation which
precipitate into communal and inter-boundary conflicts.
Information on land use such as the stock of land used, the type of land uses and
the patterns and trends of land use within particular boundaries are essential tools for
making decision in planning and re-organization schemes and in distribution and
allocation of national resources for sustainable development.
1.12 Land Use Characterization
Land Use Characterization involves the classification of portions of land in an
area into different land use types based on its predominance, relative significance or its
association with other land use types that has wider definitions; for instance most
recreational land use forms exists for commercial purposes and so could be classified
under commercial land use in certain cases. Land use are usually characterized to take the
stock of land cover and land uses and provide relevant information (data and maps) needed for subsequent planning or re-planning in lieu of development for meeting the
present needs of a man without compromising the ability of man to develop in the future.
1.2 Objectives
The specific objectives and scope of this study are to:
i. To identify key land use types in Ile-Ife.
ii. Attempt the production of a land use map for Ile-Ife.
iii. Provide an estimate of the key land use types in Ile-Ife
1.3 Statement of Problem
Effective Land resources management requires specific information on
what uses the land of a particular area is put to and this is lacking for many cities in
Nigeria. This present study is an attempt to provide such information to fill this gap for
1.4 Justification of Study
Ile-Ife like other Nigerian cities is evidently growing at an unprecedented rate and
a good knowledge of the extent of the various land uses is not known. Such information
are required for rational planning of the city and for the provision of municipal services.
A study like this is needed to provide the information.
1.5 The Study Area
1.51 Location
The study area is Ile-Ife, covering the whole of Ife Central Local
Government Area and most parts of Ife East Local Government Area of Osun State,
Nigeria. Ile-Ife is located between latitude 7o 31‟N and 7o34‟N of the equator and
between longitude 4o30‟E and 4o34‟E of the prime meridian. The Area is bounded in the North by Atakumosa West Local Government Area, in the North West by the Ede South
Local Government Area, in the East by Atakumosa West Local Government Area, in the
West by Ife North Local Government Area and in the South by Ife North and South Local
Government Areas.
1.52 Climate and Vegetation
Ile-Ife falls within the humid tropical environment (Adejuwon, 1979) and
therefore has high temperature and rainfall typical of the tropics. It is characterized by
marked wet and dry seasons. The wet season which is associated with the tropical airmass
(mT) varies between seven and nine months. It lasts from around April to
November. The annual rainfall variability lies between 90% and 120% annually. The dry
season is associated with the tropical continental airmass (cT), temperature and relative
humidity are generally high. The mean monthly temperature ranges between 23°C and
27°C (Ojo, 1977). This climate supports the rainforest formation as described by
Richards (1952). In the dry season, the temperature can be as high as above 29.4°C and in
the rainy season it can be as low as 25.6°C. The relative humidity is very high between
67% and 88%. The dry season usually begins towards the end of October and ends
around March thus, lasting five months. The rainy season begins around April and ends
in October. Ile-Ife is located within the rain forest belt of Nigeria where the climate
encourages forest growth. Its forest cover supports the growth of cash crops such as
Cocoa, kolanut and Oil Palm. Ife Area generally is the home of valuable economic timber
resources such as Iroko, Oganwo, Obeche, Idingbo, Afa, and Ole making lumbering and
saw-milling a major industry in the area. The town is also a collecting centre for
agricultural products which has attracted traders from Northern Nigeria to settle and trade especially in kolanut. Other occupations of the people include vocational practices,
trading, civil service, arts etc.
1.53 Population Characteristics
Figures from the last conducted national population and housing census in
2006 revealed that Ife central local government has an estimated total population
of about 167,254; comprising of about 84,653 male and about 82,601 female
while Ife East has an estimated population of about 188,087; comprising of about
92,054 male and about 96,033 Female.[NPC, 2007]
The total population of the Study area is estimated at about 355,341;
comprising of about 176,707 male and about 178,634 female.

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