EFFECTS OF GULLY EROSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT
1.1 BACKGROUND TO STUDY
Erosion is one of the surface processes that sculpture the earth’s landscape and constitutes one of the global environmental problems. Soil erosion is perhaps the most serious mechanism of land degradation in the tropics (ElSwaify, et al., 2002). However, gully is visually the most impressive of all types of erosion (El-Swaify, 2000). Gully erosion is a well-defined water worn channel (Monkhouse and Small, 2008). It is a recently extended drainage channel that transmits ephemeral flow, steep side, steeply sloping or vertical head scarf with a width greater than 0.3 m and a depth greater than 0.6 m (Brice, 2006). It is a V or U-shaped trench in unconsolidated materials with a minor channel in the bottom, but not necessarily linked to a major stream (Graf, 2003). Similarly, Bettis III (2005) defined gully as a relatively deep, vertical-walled channel recently formed within a valley where no well-defined channel previously existed. Gully erosion is an advanced stage of rill erosion where surface channels have been eroded to the point where they cannot be smoothened over by normal tillage operations (Hilborn, 2005).
Gullies can be active (actively eroding) or inactive (stabilized). The former, according to Poesen et al. (2003), can occur where the erosion is actively moving up in the landscape by head-cut migration. The causes of gully erosion are poorly understood but the processes and factors involved in its growth and degradation are well-known (Bettis III, 2005). The research has shown that gully processes had happened in the past even without human influence or interference. Thus, the phenomenon of gully erosion is either naturally induced or artificially-induced, or both. Like in other parts of the world, gully erosion is one of the major environmental challenges facing Nigeria.
The available literatures on the subject show that this menace is more predominant in the eastern half of the country compared to the western half. South-eastern part of Nigeria is more affected than its north-eastern counterpart. Soil erosion in the former has been identified as the most threatened environmental hazards in the country (Albert, et al. 2006). Anambra State is the most affected of all the states in Nigeria where Agulu, Nanka and Oko communities of the state are the worst hit. Available literatures have clearly reiterated the fact that the underlying geology exerts a major of control on gully development and, more often than not, the process is rock type dependent as some rocks are more susceptible to erosion than the others. There is therefore a need to briefly review the geology of Nigeria with a view to recognizing why the phenomenal gully erosion is more prevalent in one part of the country than in the other.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Erosion generally degrades land and affects not just plants and animal but is capable of taking away human’s life, though it a natural disaster but ways of preventing it can be thought about. Gully erosion seems to be a factor of discourse every rainy season because maybe the government have decided to pay deaf ears to this menace, sometimes because they must have tried to work on it but the solution was not long lasting and they thought intervening again will just be a total waste of money thereby feeling discouraged. Finally, several studies has been carried out on the effect of erosion on agricultural produce but not even a single research has been carried out on the effects of gully erosion on the environment a case study of Oko, Anambra state.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The main aim of the study is examine the effects of gully erosion on the environment. Other specific objectives of the study include:
1. to determine the extent to which gully erosion affects the environment.
2. to determine the causative factors of gully erosion.
3. to determine the effect of gully erosion on the environment.
4. to proffer possible solutions to the problems.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the extent to which gully erosion affects the environment?
2. What are the causative factors of gully erosion?
3. What is the effect of gully erosion on the environment?
4. What are the possible solutions to the problems?
1.5 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Gully erosion has no significant on environment.
H1: Gully erosion has a significant on environment.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study on the effects of gully erosion on the environment will be of immense benefit to the entire Oko, Anambra state in the sense that it will enable the ministry of environment to come up with a strategy on how to handle gully erosion in not just Oko but in other local government areas of Anambra state that are also facing gully erosion challenges. Finally, the study will contribute to the body of existing literature and knowledge to this field of studies and basis for further research.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study on the effects of gully erosion on the environment is limited to Oko, Anambra state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Effect: A change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.
Gully: A ravine formed by the action of water.
Erosion: The process of eroding or being eroded by wind, water, or other natural agents.
Environment: Is everything that is around us. It can be living or non-living things. It includes physical, chemical and other natural forces. Living things live in their environment.