URBANIZATION AS AN IMPORTANT DETERMINANT IN SPATIAL ORGANIZATION
The term natural vegetation generally refers to the plant cover of an extensive part of the earth. It also refers to the different plant communities found on the surface of the earth. (Monkhouse 1970, Collinson 198). The part of the earth on which plant grow is known as the biosphere. The biosphere is also refers to as an ecosystem because there is an interrelationship between that plant and other environmental factors e.g. soil. The land biosphere may be subdivided into bios cycles, including the land bios cycle which is of relevance to this study since it carries the forest ecosystem.
However, vegetation growth depends essentially on the types of soil and climatic factors of an area, for example rainfall, light and heat which are known to influence vegetation structure. If vegetation is allow to grow without human interference. It becomes a primeval forest (Church 1973). However, there is no primeval forest in Akwa Ibom State because of constant human interference for agriculture purposes, settlement and urban development and industrialization. The vegetation cover, except in some distant swamps and few sacred forests, has undergone serious modification by man. In essence, when to total demand for land in all categories exceeds supply forest land will be sacrificed tom that other needs can be met.
Natural vegetation is the plants and other flora that make up the plant life in the region, the natural vegetation determine the characteristic of the region
THE ROLE OF NATURAL VEGETATION
Vegetation or natural vegetation support critical functions in the biosphere, at all possible scales. First, vegetation regulates the flow of numerous biogeochemical cycles, most critically those of water, carbon, and nitrogen. It is also of great important in local and global energy balance. Such cycle are impotent not only fo9r global pattern of vegetation but also for those of climate.
Second, vegetation strongly affects soil characteristics, including soil volume, chemistry and texture, which feed back to affect various vegetation characteristics, including productivity and structure.
Third, vegetation serve as wildlife habitat and the energy source for the vast array of animal species on the planet and, ultimately to those that feed on these. Vegetation is also critically important to the world economy, particularly in the use of fossil fuel as an energy source, but also in the global production of food, wood fuel and other materials
Perhaps most importantly, and often overlooked, global vegetation including algal communities has been the primary source of oxygen in the atmosphere, enabling the aerobic metabolism system to evolve and persist.
Vegetation is psychologically important to humans, who evolved in direct contact with and dependence on, vegetation, for food, shelter, and medicine.
Vegetation provide shelter to animals and provide us with timber and it is a key component of an ecosystem and, as such is involved in the regulation of monitor changes in cover composition and structure due to natural or human influence.
In view of the fact that natural vegetation is obviously the determinant factors of the characteristic of any geographical region. Akwa Ibom State is in the rain forest zone but the vegetation has been greatly tempered with under going serious degradation due to peripheral utilization for agriculture, settlement purposes and urbanization.
Urbanization, according to Berry (1973) is “a process of population concentration. It proceeds in two ways; the multiplication of the points of concentration and the increase in the size of individual concentrations Hawley (1978) St6ates was initialed and nurtured by three imperial agencies namely; British colonial administration, Christian missionary and European business enterprises. Succeeding indigenous administration later consolidated and expanded it.
In Oron Local Government Area, the natural vegetation have seriously degrade with the face of urbanization and settlement due to population increase and poaching resulting in natural degradation and present of secondary forest thereby deviating this geographical from her glory or natural vegetation.
The above mention have interest me to studying more about the influence of urbanization on the natural vegetation in Oron and recommended the possible solution to effect conservation.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY ARE TO:
Conduct an appraisal of natural vegetation validity and reliability in Oron Local Government Area. This can be achieved by:
Accessing the degree of urban-sprawl of various ages and reliability on vegetation index.
To evaluate the reliability including floristic from the corresponding urban encroachment over ages.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
VALIDITY: As used in this research project, this implies the quality of it value ability or how genuine.
RELIABILITY: This implies it dependability and the quality of it content value.
(a) URBAN – SPRAWL: The extension of the city into country side particularly associated with improvement mass transport. Torrens (2006)
Argues that population growth is one of the most important engines of urban sprawl, and Irwin and Bockstach (2002).
VEGETATION INDEX: It is the way to describe the net result of canopy coverage, leaf area, and canopy architecture in a vegetated area. The number and size of leaves, and how they are arranged horizontally and vertically. Low value on the index means less vegetation (Earth observatory 2033). See liang et al (2007). It is common way to measure Earth’s vegetation from space.
The hypothesis stated to guide this research is that urbanization of natural vegetation.
SIGNIFICANT OF STUDY
The study of urbanization and it influence on natural vegetation in Oron Local Government Area was aim at understanding the extent to which the urbanization have influence natural vegetation or weather such vegetation have any way impedes urbanization or urban sprawl in Oron Local Government. However the study will bring to the fore knowledge, the type of natural vegetation and also to satisfy the inquisition present burning in the mind of indigenes of the above locality as to weather, their vegetation characteristic enhance urbanization or impedes it. And some useful recommendation made that will balance the improvement the duo.