Evaluating the Effects of Gully Erosion on the Livelihood of Ohafia, Abia State Residents
The soil is one of the most valuable natural resources on Earth, yet erosion poses a significant threat to its preservation. This study focuses on the impact of gully erosion on the livelihood of residents in Ohafia Local Government Area (LGA) in the Southeast region of Nigeria. To understand and assess this impact, the study aimed to develop a gully erosion vulnerability map of the area. Quantitative and remote sensing data were collected from primary and secondary sources. The quantitative data were gathered from residents through 346 questionnaires distributed across four communities (Abariba, Ndi Nduma, Ebem, and Ohafia) using a simple random sampling technique. On the other hand, elevation data, terrain, and slope characteristics were extracted from the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM), while soil types and clay properties were extracted from the Digital Soil Map of the World (DSMW) obtained from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) websites, respectively.
The collected data were subjected to various analyses, including descriptive (percentage, mean, Jenks), inferential (ANOVA), and spatial (slope, nearest neighborhood analysis, and terrain) analyses. The findings revealed that Ohafia LGA contains 34 gully erosion sites, distributed across the area with varying lengths, widths, and heights. The study also highlighted the significant contribution of topography (49%), slope (25%), and soil (86.2%) in the occurrence of gully erosion in Ohafia.
Moreover, the research demonstrated that gully erosion has considerable adverse effects on residents’ livelihoods. These effects include the loss of farmland, destruction of crops, and damage to roads essential for transporting agricultural produce to the market. In light of these findings, the study underscores the importance of considering soil properties and human practices when selecting sites for various land uses in the study area.
In conclusion, the study emphasizes the need for adequate attention to soil conservation and sustainable farming practices in Ohafia. As a recommendation, the development of gully erosion risk maps is proposed to guide future development and promote sustainable agricultural practices in the region. These measures can contribute to mitigating the impact of gully erosion and safeguarding the livelihoods of Ohafia residents.
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