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This study seeks to assess drought and desertification as indicators to Land Degradation and explore sustainable solutions to the problem.



There is widespread land degradation in Northern Nigeria, mainly attributed to deforestation, increased agricultural intensity, over-grazing livestock, and climate changes. Tangaza in Sokoto State is particularly experiencing drought and desertification resulting in the present conflict, whereby Northern herdsmen are invading southwest Nigeria in search of pasture for their flock of cattle.  Estimate show that Nigeria is currently losing about 351000ha of its land mass to desert condition annually. The main issue is developing a strategy that could arrest land degradation, reduce carbon dioxide and reduce the effect drought and desertification on man.  Adewuyi (2016) described land as a major resource for many people.  Important information to decision makers regarding sustainable land management, space and time of climate variables, land surface dryness,  and land use changes for Tangaza are limited.

This project seeks to apply geospatial techniques and participatory approach in restoring and reclaiming degraded lands in view of providing better land management and sustainable solution to landscape degradation in Northern Nigeria. 

Project objectives:

(i) Develop and Validate Land Degradation (drought and desertification) Model

(ii) Establish new forest zones;

(iii) Carry out community orientation, workshops and enlightenment campaigns on climate change and reduction of carbon footprint

(iv) Encourage community participation for green sustainability.

(v) Encourage sustainable alternative means of cooking for local community.

This study will be conducted in Tangaza,  Sokoto State. It lies between longitudes 4.58 degrees East and 4.97 degrees East and latitudes 13.31 degrees North and 13.52 degrees North. The estimated population of Tangaza is put at 259,848 (NPC, 2006) inhabitants. The  area is primarily inhabited by  the Hausa/Fulani ethnic groups. Major food crops produced include millet, maize and rice.

Is this proposal for a practice or a project?


What actions do you propose?

(i) Develop and Validate Land Degradation Model

(ii) Establishment of two new forest zones: The proposed forest zones will be categorize under

         - Dual purpose tree species that can serve as a medium for carbon sequestration and community economic sustainability 

         - Single purpose tree species for carbon sequestration and storage of biomass

(iii) Carry out community orientation, workshops and enlightenment campaigns (using the media and local hausa dialect to relay messages) on climate change and reduction of carbon footprint

(iv) Encourage community participation for green sustainability.

(v) Encourage sustainable alternative means of cooking for local community.






Who will take these actions?

Human use land for different purposes some of which contribute to land degradation. Adewuyi et al. (2017) noted that socio-economic activities are known to impact, often negatively, on the condition of the soil, vegetation and water resources. Collective effort is key for lasting solution. Tully et al. (2015) opined that effective solutions to degradation problem will support resilient systems, and must cut across agricultural, environmental, and socioeconomic objectives. In order to achieve the set objectives of this project stakeholders will be drawn from traditional rulers, the government and private sectors. Specifically, some  actors that will be contacted include:

- Governmental agencies (Federal Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) (FRN, 2005); These agencies will work in tandem to supervise as well as provide useful data to aid the implementation of this project.

- International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria.

- Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Benin city, Nigeria.

- The Yankari National Park which is involved in desertification control through conservation activities.

- Public Private Partnerships

- NGO's

- Community Heads and Chiefs

- Research Institutions; African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Science and Technology (AFRIGIST) will work together on the field work, data collection and collation as well as modelling of Drought and Desertification indices for the area.

Where will these actions be taken?

This action will be implemented in Tangaza,  Sokoto State, Nigeria. Tangaza lies between longitudes 4.58 degrees East and 4.97 degrees East and latitudes 13.31 degrees North and 13.52 degrees North. After the model creation and validation, areas that are at risk and mostly affected by desertification and drought will be given priority. The size of the case study area is about (330360ha). Two (2) prototype forest zones will be developed on an area size of 250 square kilometers each. Although the standard size for a forest is set at 10000 square kilometers. The size above is proposed as a test for this project due to limited funds. Soil health, along with water supply, is the most valuable resource for humans, as human life depends on the soil’s generosity (Gomiero, 2016). The people of Tangaza will be exited to see these action executed in there communities.


In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

(1) The land degradation model will provide us with a foundation upon which location specific solution can be derived for drought and desertification.

(2) Forests play an important role in climate change such as continuous absorption of carbon. Planting of new forest in areas that were previously not under forest cover will help mitigate against climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The concept of planting of new forest zones is in tune with FAO (2010 in Aba et al., 2017) report that the contribution of trees to the reduction of climate change could be enhanced by promoting agroforestry systems and planting trees in urban areas.

(3) Community orientation, workshops and enlightenment campaigns on climate change and reduction of carbon footprint will help create required  awareness.

(4) Community participation for green sustainability will enable the planting of at least one tree per household and most especially in agricultural systems, homes, institutions, markets, parks and other public places as part of the fight against climate change.

(5) Sustainable alternative means of cooking when adopted will help reduce CO2 emission in terms of the number of household that previously used fire wood for cooking, multiplied by the number of times they cook per day, times the amount of CO2 emitted per meal cooked.

What are other key benefits?

Other key benefits that will be derived from this project as relates to the environment and society are:

1. Reduce heat wave

2.  Wind and dust control

3. Reclamation of  drought prone areas and desert lands.

4. Increased soil productivity, Forest cover and food for livestock (e.g cattle)

5.Increased Bio-Diversity

6. Improved soil porosity

7. Increased soil moisture content

8. High Economic gain

9. Increase scientific understanding


The benefits that will be derived is in tandem  with Nigeria government policy, and the green agenda  to improve agricultural productivity, reduce desertification and control drought.


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Field Work/Data Collection $ = 2000

Model Design and Validation $ = 500

Community Enlightenment Campaign/Workshops $ = 1000

Establishment of New Forest Zones $ = 4000

(20 Personnel) Remuneration $ = 2000

Miscellaneous $ = 500

The challenges that may occur  with this project, rest with the procurement of Land for the setting up of the proposed forest zones... we cannot predict how long it will take to procure this land as a lot of negotiations and consultations have to be carried out. We can also explore option B which will involve the use of climate resilient tree species, like Mango, Neem, Africa Teek and crops that can thrive together in a symbiotic fashion will be used for mixed cultivation. Local farmers will be provided with the seedlings of such crops for planting. Irrigation techniques will be implemented for areas already affected greatly by drought and desertification.

Insecurity is also a possible challenge that may be faced  in the Northern part of Nigeria.


This project will be implemented over the period of two years

Phase 1: Preliminary data collection - 2 Months

Phase 2: Model design and validation - 4 Months

Phase 3: Stakeholder synergy/ forest site selection - 2 months

Phase 4: Trees planting - 5 Months

Phase 5: Sensitization on the use of alternative sustainable cooking methods - 3 Months.

Phase 6: Monitoring and feedback  - 6 Months

About the author(s)

Deborah B. Alaigba is a lecturer at the department of Geographic Information Science, African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Science and Technology  (AFRIGIST), Under the auspices of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa  (UNECA), Located in OAU Campus, Ile Ife, Nigeria. I am presently doing an Mphil/PhD program at University of Ibadan, Nigeria. I hold a Masters of Technology degree in Geo-information Technology with specialization in environmental control and management from Federal University of Science and Technology, Akure, Nigeria. I hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Geo-information Production and Management from RECTAS, also hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and Regional Planning from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. I also got a Post Graduate Diploma on Urban Management and Development Theories from IHS, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

Ayila Emmanuel Adzandeh hold the Master of Science degree in Surveying and Geoinformatics (2012) with Distinction from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and lectures at the African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Science and Technology (AFRIGST), a UNECA research institute in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. I have published extensively in  academic journals, and in conference proceedings. I participated in a two-month (in 2016) research scholar capacity building programme on “Minimizing vulnerability of coastal cities and communities in Africa through adaptation to climate change impacts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA.  The programme integrates Advanced Remote Sensing, Geographic Information System and Climate modelling. My PhD is on-going at the University of Lagos.  My current research focus is to develop strategy that would catch flood and prevent jump, from the Benue river channel during excessive rainfall, reduce flood effects while converting the flood to benefit for agriculture in which majority of the people depends.

Related Proposals

Not sure at the moment


(1) Aba S.C., Ndukwe, O.O., Amu, C.J., and Baiyeri, K.P., (2017). The role of trees and plantation agriculture in mitigating global climate change. Afr. J. Food Agric. Nutr. Dev. 17(4):( 12691-12707.

(2) Adewuyi, T.O. (2016). Globalisation, Ecology and Land Degradation in Africa. In U.A. Tar, B.E. Mijah and M.E.U. Tedheke (eds) ‘Globalisation in Africa: Perspective on Development, Security and the Environment’, Lexington Press, Lanham, Maryland, U.S.A. pp 345 – 362FAO (2010). Managing forest for climate. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, Italy. Pp20.

(3) Adewuyi, T.O., Olofin, E.A., and Olutunmogun, A.K., (2017). Examination of the Relationship between Vegetation Cover Indices and Land Degradation in the Peri- Urban Area of Kaduna Metropolis, Nigeria. Journal of Research in Forestry, Wildlife & Environment, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. ISBN: 2141 – 1778, Vol. 9(3) 50-60.

(4) Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), (1999). Combating desertification and mitigating the effect of drought in Nigeria. National report on the implementation of the United Nations Conventions to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/ or desertification particularly in Africa. Report submitted at the third session of the conference of the parties, Reife, Brazil. Pp1-36.

(5) Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), (2005). Combating desertification and mitigating the effect of drought in Nigeria.  Report submitted to the Secretariat of the UNCCD Bonn, Germany. Pp1-40.

(6) Gomiero, T., (2016). Soil Degradation, Land Scarcity and Food Security: Reviewing a Complex Challenge. Sustainability, 8(3), 281;

(7) National Population Commission (NPC), (2006). Population demography. National Population Commission report Sokoto State.

(8) Tully, K., Sullivan, C., Weil, R., and Sanchez, P., (2015). The State of Soil Degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Baselines, Trajectories, and Solutions. Sustainability, 7(6), 6523-6552;

(9) UNEP (1992). World Atlas of Desertification. United Nations Environment Programme. London: Edward Arnold. 1992