Geospatial modelling of Forest Canopy Density and Landscape Assessment in Omo Biosphere Reserve, South-western Nigeria
Forest has an important role in the global carbon cycle that covers over one-fourth of the world’s geographical area. It is one of the major natural resources and magnificent terrestrial ecosystems of the world. Forest Canopy Density (FCD) is imperative in the assessment of forest status and is a primary indicator of potential management interventions. Landsat images of 1990 and 2018 were used in this study. Remote Sensing has demonstrated to be very cost-effective in mapping and monitoring changes in forests, and other environmental issues. Forest cover change and fragmentation were analysed using FCD and Landscape metrics. The FCD was obtained from the combination of data from the Advance Vegetation Density Index (AVI), Bare Soil Index (BI), and Forest Shadow Index (FSI). Four categories of change were identified in the reserve, no change, growth, degradation and deforestation. There was no change in 222.57 ha (52.98%), growth had 81.54 ha (0.69%), degradation with 116.01 ha (27.61%) and deforestation with the least change with 0.81 ha (0.19%). Degradation with a change rate of 0.97% contributed more in terms of change. There is a slight increase in the values of the three diversity indices (SHDI, SHEI, SIDI) while a high degree of homogeneity is recorded in the no forest class and the three others classes were fragmented. Understanding the dynamics of the forests is important in mitigating climate change and support for biological resources.
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