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Abstract

In Nigeria, many land use conflicts among the teeming rural agrarian communities in the northern parts of the country are often wrongly attributed to ethno-religious differences while ignoring the salient role environmental degradation, climate change, and urbanization play in exacerbating the conflicts. The two traditional farming groups (crop producers and cattle herders) that contribute immensely to the country’s food security are in constant conflict, thereby threatening sustainable agricultural production. The objective in this article is to investigate the nature and extent of land use changes in the Gombe region using geospatial analytical techniques and assess the implications on land conflicts. The work also examined the people’s perceptions of the land conflicts. Data for the study was obtained from LANDSAT images (MSS 1986, TM 1999 and Nigeria Sat-1 2012 for a 20-year period) and through the administration of 300 questionnaires at rural household levels, and from focus group discussions. The results revealed general lack of appreciation of the significant role played by land/environmental factors in the conflict and weak institutional conflict management strategies adopted by the state authorities. The study produced maps of cattle routes and potential conflict zones and thus developed a community based land use management model to guide the government, NGOs, community representatives, and other stakeholders in resolving farmers’/herders’ land use related conflicts.

Author Bio(s)

Whanda J. Shittu teaches in the Department of Geography, Gombe State University, Gombe State, Nigeria. Email: shittuwhanda@yahoo.com. Mala Galtima teaches in the Department of Geography, Gombe State University Gombe State, Nigeria. Email: galtimam@gmail.com. Dan Yakubu teaches in the Department of Geography, Gombe State University, Gombe State, Nigeria. Email: yakubudan26@yahoo.com.