Population Pressure on Land Resources in Nigeria: The Past and Projected Outcome

Main Article Content

H. I. Eririogu
R. N. Echebiri
E. S. Ebukiba


Aims: This paper assesses the population pressure on land resources in Nigeria: The past and projected outcome.

Study Design: 1967 to 2068 time series data were used. The data sets were resorted to due to lack of complete national data.

Place and Duration of Study: Past (1967-2017) and projected (2018-2068) five decades in Nigeria.

Methodology: The time series data were obtained from the United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, National Population Commission, International Energy Statistics and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on population levels, renewable and non renewable resources in Nigeria. Others such as transformity were adapted from Odum (1996) and Odum (2000) for specific objectives. Data collected were analyzed using modified ecological footprint/carrying capacity approach, descriptive statistics and Z-statistics.

Results: Results showed that the mean annual pressure on land resources in the past five decades (1967-2017) was 9.323 hectares per capita, while the projected pressure in the next five decades (2018-2068) was 213.178 hectares per capita. Results also showed that about 73.08 percent of the pressure per capita in the past five decades emanated from arable land consumption (6.813ha), while 75.91percent of the pressure is expected to emanate from fossil land in the next projected five decades due to crude oil and mineral resource exploration and exploitation. The carrying capacity of land resources in the past five decades was 6.4091 hectares per capita, while that of the projected five decades was 1.667 hectares per capita, an indication of ecological overshoot in both periods.

Conclusion: Population pressures on land resources per capita in the past and projected five decades are higher than the carrying capacity of these resources in the country. Citizens lived and are expected to live unsustainably by depleting and degrading available land resources. Arable land consumption is the major contributor to the total pressure on land resources in the past five decades, while the consumption of fossil land due to exploration and exploitation of crude oil and mineral resources is expected to contribute majorly to the total pressure on land resources in the next five decades. Limiting affluence (per capita consumption of resources) and improving technology will not only ensure sustainable use of arable and fossil lands but place consumption within the limits of these resources for a sustainable future.

Population pressure, carrying capacity, land resources, energy, emergy, Nigeria.

Article Details

How to Cite
Eririogu, H. I., Echebiri, R. N., & Ebukiba, E. S. (2020). Population Pressure on Land Resources in Nigeria: The Past and Projected Outcome. Journal of Energy Research and Reviews, 4(2), 20-34. https://doi.org/10.9734/jenrr/2020/v4i230122
Original Research Article


Food and Agriculture Organization. The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture (SOLAW) managing systems at Risk; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Rome, Italy; Earthscan: London, UK; 2011.

Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services [IPBES]. Summary for policymakers of the assessment report on land degradation and restoration of the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services; Scholes R, Montanarella L, Brainich A, Barger N, ten Brink B, Cantele M, Erasmus B, Fisher B, Gardner T, Holland TJ, et al., Eds.; IPBES Secretariat: Bonn, Germany; 2018.

FAO/UNEP. Negotiating a sustainable future for land. Structural and Institutional Guidelines for Land Resources Management in the 21st Century. FAO/UNEP, Rome; 1997.

United Nations Environment Programme. Avoiding future famines: Strengthening the Ecological Foundation of Food Security through Sustainable Food Systems. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme; 2012.

United Nations. Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015; A/RES/70/1; 4th Plenary Meeting; United Nations: New York, NY, USA; 2015.

Convention of Biological Diversity. Addis Ababa principles and guidelines for the sustainable use of biodiversity secretariat of the convention of biological diversity montreal; 2004:21.

Washington H. Demystifying sustainability: Towards real solutions. London: Routledge; 2015.

Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services [IPBES]. Nature’s dangerous decline ‘unprecedented’ species extinction rates ‘accelerating’. Media release by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; 2019.

Rees W. End game: The economy as eco-catastrophe and what needs to change. Real World Economic Review. 2019;87: 132-148.

Faraci A, Fowler A, Galewski N, Garvey B, Lee W. Carrying capacity in the Metro Atlanta Region. CP 6016 – Growth Management Law Reuter and Juergensmeyer Spring. 2008;1-48.

Food and Agriculture Organization. The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges. Rome; 2017.

Erokhin V. Factors influencing food markets in developing countries: An approach to assess sustainability of the food supply in Russia. Sustainability. 2017; 9:1313.

United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision: Interpolated Demographic Indicators by region, subregion and country annually for 1950-2099. POP/DB/WPP/Rev 2017/INT/F01; 2017.

Sheikh SM, Loney T. Is Educating girls the best investment for South Asia? Association between Female Education and Fertility Choices in South Asia: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Front. Public Health. 2018;6:172.

Gakidou E, Cowling K, Lozano R, Murray CJL. Increased educational attainment and its effect on child mortality in 175 countries between 1970 and 2009: A systematic analysis. Lancet Lond Engl. 2010;376: 959–74.

Campbell M. Why the silence on population? in Cafaro P and Crist E (Eds), Life on the brink: Environmentalists confront overpopulation Georgia, US: University of Georgia Press. 2012;41-55.

Engelman R. Nine population strategies to stop short of 9 billion, in L Starke (Ed.). State of the World 2012: Moving toward sustainable prosperity. Washington: Island Press; 2012.

Ripple WJ, Wolf C, Newsome T, et al. World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice. Bioscience. 2017;67(12): 1026–1028.

Baus, D. Overpopulation and the Impact on the environment. CUNY Academic Works; 2017.

Postel S. Carrying capacity: Earth’s bottom line. In: State of the world 1994. A Worldwatch Institute report on progress toward a sustainable society. Norton, New York; 1994.

Mc Gingley M. Ecological footprints and carrying capacity: Measuring our impact; 2013.

Keshav S. What is carrying capacity and environment and ecosystem? 2011.

Zhao S, Zizhen L, Wenlong L. A modified method of ecological footprint calculation and its application. Ecological Modelling. 2005;185:65-75.

Xue Q, Song W, Zhang Y, Mou F. Research progress in ecological carrying capacity: Implications, assessment methods and current focus. J. Resour. Ecol. 2017;8(5):514-525.

Tsegaye T. Exponential population growth and carrying capacity of the Ethiopian Economy; 2013.

George RM, Kini, MK. Formulating Urban Design Guidelines for Optimum Carrying Capacity of a Place Procedia Technology. 2016;24:1742–1749.

Wackernagel M, Moran D, Goldfinger S. Ecological footprint accounting: Comparing resource availability with an economy’s resource Demand, Global Footprint Network, 1050 Warfield Ave Oakland, CA, 94610-1612 USA; 2004.

Kumar N. Urban carrying capacity assessment for metropolitan area: Case study of Patna City, Bihar, India. International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET). 2017;4(2):1561-1563.

Agostinho F, Ortega E. Landscape evaluation and carrying capacity calculation on the Mogi-Guaçu and Pardo Watershed. Brown MT, et al. (eds). Proceedings from the Fifth Biennial Emergy Conference, Gainesville, Florida. 2009;369-370.

Odum HT. Environment accounting: Emergy and environment decision making. John Wiley, New York. 1996;370.

Liu QP, Lin ZS, Feng NH, Liu YM. A modified model of ecological footprint accounting and its application to cropland in Jiangsu, China. Pedosphere. 2008;18: 154–162.

Brown MT, Ulgiati S. Emergy-Based Indices and ratios to evaluate sustainability: Monitoring economies and technology toward environmentally sound innovation. Ecol. Eng. 1997;9:51–69.

Ocean Data and Information Network for Africa. [ODINAFRICA]. Nigeria; 2014.

National Bureau of Statistics. Nigeria Poverty Assessment. NBS in Collaboration with World Bank and DFID. 2007;38-185.

World Fact book. Rank Order; 2011.

Federal Research Division. Country Profile: Nigeria; 2008.

World Bank and United Nation Population Division; 2019.

U.S. Agency for International Development. Feed the Future learning agenda literature review: Improved gender integration and women’s empowerment; 2015.
Available:https://agrilinks.org/library/feed-future-learning-agenda- literature-review-improved-gender-integration-and-womens.

Dogarawa LB. Repositioning Northern Nigeria for sustainable socio-economic growth and development. Asian Journal of management Research. 2012;2(2):827-839.

World Bank. World Bank List of Economies; 2011.

World Bank. Nigeria; 2014.

Odum HT. Environment accounting: Emergy and environment decision making. John Wiley, New York. 1996;370.

Odum HT. Emergy of Global processes. Handbook of energy evaluation. Center for Environmental Policy, Folio 2, Environmental Engineering Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA; 2000.

Josephat M. Deforestation in Uganda: Population increase, forests loss and climate change. Environ Risk Assess Remediat. 2018;2(2):46-50.

Kadir S. Pengelolaan daerah aliran sungai untuk pengendalian banjirdi catchment area Jaing Sub DAS Negara Provinsi Kalimantan Selatan. Malang: Pascasarjana Universitas Brawijaya; 2014.

Tesfaye MA, Bravo-Oviedo A, Bravo F, Kidane B, Bekele K, Sertse D. Selection of tree species and soil management for simultaneous fuelwood production and soil rehabilitation. The Ethiopian Central Highlands Land Degradation and Development; 2013.

Qian Y, Tang L, Qiu Q, Xu T, Liao J. A Comparative analysis on assessment of land carrying capacity with ecological footprint analysis and Index System Method. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(6).

Eririogu I H, Eze CC; Emenyonu CA, Ibeagwa OB. Analysis of sustainable agricultural resource Use in Nigeria: An Ecological footprint approach. Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International. 2016;6(4):1-1.

Diress T, Moe SR, Vedeld P, et al. Land-use/cover dynamics in Northern Afar rangelands, Ethiopia. Agricultural Ecosystem Environment. 2010:139(1-2): 174–180.

Wily LA. The tragedy of public lands: The fate of the commons under global commercial pressure. International Land Coalition; 2011.

Ruževičius J. Ecological footprint: Evaluation methodology and International benchmarking. Verslo ir teisės aktualijos / Current Issues of Business and Law. 2011; 6(1):11–30.

Ewing B. Sustainable Colombia: A comprehensive Colombia footprint review. Doten T, Mitchell J, Poblete P (eds). working paper 70198: World Bank; 2010.

Makuria W. The link between agricultural production and population dynamics in Ethiopia: A review. Adv Plants Agric Res. 2018;8(4):348‒353.

Malthus T. An essay on principles of the population. In: St. Pauls Church- Yard. London; 1798.

Bremner J. Population, poverty, environment and climate dynamics in the developing world. Interdisciplinary Environmental Review. 2010;11(2/3):112–126.

Bekele S. Poverty and natural resource management in the semi-arid tropics: Revisiting challenges and conceptual issues. SAT e Journal. 2006;2(1):1–22.

Arman M, Davidson K. Positioning population within broader sustainability discourse: A political economy approach. Ninth International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics; 2011.

Boserup E. The Conditions of Agricultural Growth. London: Earthscan; 1965.

Awulachew SB, Erkossa T, Balcha Y. Irrigation and water for sustainable development. Proceeding of the 2nd Forum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2008. CG Space a Repository of Agricultural Research Outputs; 2011.