Aspects of Climate Change and Resource Conflicts in the Nigeria Savannah.
This study analyses the pattern of rainfall anomalies and its relation with ecosystems changes and vulnerability of rural communities in the Nigeria Savannah. 60-year observed rainfall data for 22 stations over the Savannah was analyzed for spatial and temporal anomalies. Ecosystems change analysis was done using 19-year two-time landcover data. A simplified vulnerability index using multicriteria analysis was developed for about 750 communities using ecological zone, settlement status, administrative status, and the degree to which communities are tied to the land as candidate variables. Results obtained showed that the 60-year long term annual mean and standard deviation for the Nigeria Savannah are 942mm and 270mm respectively. Correspondingly, the long term decadal mean and standard deviation are 976mm and 75mm respectively. The spatial pattern shows very high negative anomaly over the Sahel fringes and upper Sudan zones and high positive anomalies around the Guinea zones which reduce towards the lower Sudan zone. The influence of local perturbations is captured by the localized high positive anomaly around the highlands and very high negative anomalies around the inland basins. All the 4 stations in the Sahel zone and 6 in the upper Sudan zones recorded negative standardized rainfall. The temporal anomaly shows that the decades 1970s and 1980s are the driest in the Savannah over the last 60 years. Results from landcover and ecosystems changes indicate that general agricultural landuse increased by 20% between 1976 and 1995. In specifics, agricultural tree and crop production decreased by 30%, while rainfed arable crop production, extensive small holder rainfed agriculture with denuded areas, and extensive grazing areas increased by about 8000%, 129%,and 13% respectively. Water impoundments (reservoir and dams) increased by 115% and floodplain agriculture and irrigation agriculture increased by 110% and 572% respectively. Grassland increased by 121%, wood and shrublands decreased by about 37%, forest reduced by 17%, and aeolian sands and gullies increased about 428% and 15,000%. 231 of the sampled communities (23 in the Sahel zone and 208 in the Sudan zone) fall under the high vulnerability category. The spatial pattern of vulnerability of the communities to climate change and its effects clearly confirms that the trajectory of resource conflict in the Nigeria Savannah is towards the south of the Sudan zone. The paper also suggested necessary adaptation strategies to combat longterm implications of climate change in the Savannah.