Characterisation of Land Degraded Sites for Restoration Along Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, Chikun L.G.A. of Kaduna State Nigeria
This study characterized sites of degraded land along Kaduna-Abuja expressway in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State for the purpose of planning for the restoration of such sites. Aerial photographs, satellite imagery, topographical sheets and ground data were used. Also examined were types and sizes of degraded sites, distance from major roads and existing land use and cover on an area of 800km2 (40km/20km) in a GIS environment using on screen digitization classification scheme as well as both descriptive and inferential statistical methods. The results revealed four on-going types of degradations in the area namely; soil erosion at 14 sites, excavation of top soil (42), deforestation (75) and loss of biodiversity (91); while on the basis of size, very small (< 0.5ha; 59 occurrences), small (0.51 – 1ha; 28), medium (1.1 – 1.5ha; 21), large (1.51 – 2ha; 18) and very large (> 2ha; 96) respectively. These are scattered all over the study area and are mostly lands that are not used for any economic and ecological purposes. The correlation revealed an inverse relationship of -0.7 between the distances of degraded sites from the expressway and the frequency of occurrence. The characterization shows that degraded sites are located randomly, but are closer to major roads. The main agents of degradation are the removal of top soil and indiscriminate wood harvest. It is therefore proposed that restoration should start from areas adjacent to major roads, targeting unused land, stopping soil loss and providing a better approach to wood harvest which can be achieved through agroforestry system of agriculture.