Land And It’s Uses: Meaning And Definition Of Land (Characteristics And Uses)

Agricultural Science
Topic: Land And It’s Uses

  • Definition And Characteristics Of Land
  • Land Policy
  • Classification Of Land Based On Uses
  • Uses Of Land For Agricultural Purposes
  • How Agricultural Land Appreciates In Value
  • Uses Of Land For Non-Agricultural Purposes

At the end of this article, readers should be able to:
1. State the meaning of land.
2. State the characteristics of land.
3. Mention the use of land.
4. Briefly explain the land use policy in Nigeria.
5. Explain five agricultural and ten non-agricultural uses of land.
6. State the major uses of land in Nigeria.
Definition And Characteristics Of Land
Definition: Land may be defined as the uppermost layer of the earth’s crust on which agricultural and non-agricultural activities are carried out. In other words, land can also be defined as the solid part of the earth’s surface which has as its components water, air, soil, rock, minerals, natural vegetation and animal life, and it is suitable for agricultural production.
Characteristics Of Land
1. Land is a natural gift.
2. Land can appreciate or depreciate in value.
3. It is geographically immobile.
4. It is abundant in some areas and scarce in other areas.
5. It is heterogenous in quality, differing from one place to another in topography, soil texture, and structure, soil fertility, etc.
6. Because of its limited supply, land is also subject to the law of diminishing returns.
7. Reward for land is rent.
8. Availability is subject to Land Use Act/Law.
9. Its suitability influences output.
10. Its value is determined by its location.
11. It can be used as collateral for loan.
Land Use Policy
Land use demands careful planning in order to ensure increased agricultural production. In order to use land most efficiently, there is the need to ensure a continuous land use policy which must not change as government changes, current demands on land centres on agriculture, forestry, wild life conservation, industry, housing, recreation, transport, etc. However, it is agriculture, forestry and wild life that make the greatest demands for land.
Classification Of Land Based On Uses
There are two major classifications of land based on uses. These are:
1. Agricultural Land: Agricultural land include:
i. Land for crop production,
ii. Livestock production.
iii. Fisheries
Note: Crop production, livestock production and fisheries can be grouped as farming or agricultural purpose.
iv. Forestry.
v. Wildlife conservation.
2. Non-Agricultural Land: The following are non-agricultural uses of land:
i. Industrial or factory use.
ii. Construction of building (Residential purposes).
iii. Mining.
iv. Sports centres eg stadia, race course, golf course.
v. Recreational purpose, e.g parks.
vi. Markets.
vii. Worship places e.g churches, mosques, shrine.
viii. Transportation, e.g railway, airports and roads.
ix. Cemeteries.
x. Commercial purpose, e.g banks and warehouse.
Uses Of Land For Agricultural Purposes
1. Production Of Crops: Land is used for the production of food crops like yam, rice,maize, cassava and cowpea as well as production of cash crops like cotton, rubber, cocoa and groundnut.
Importance Or Merits Of Crops Production
i. Provision of food e.g maize, yam and cassava.
ii. It provides employment to many people.
iii. It provides income to farmers.
iv. It provides raw materials for industries, e.g., cassava, maize, rubber and cocoa.
v. It aids the development of towns where commercial agriculture is practised.
vi. Some crops are sources of foreign exchange for the nation.
2. Livestock Production: Land is also used for natural grazing for livestock like cattle, sheep and goats. Large areas of land are set aside in savanna belts where there are abundant grasses for grazing by livestock.
Importance Or Merits Of Livestock
i. Livestock provides food in form of protein, e.g. Meat and eggs.
ii. It provides employment, e.g., cattle rearers and poultry farmers.
iii. It provides feed for farm animals.
iv. It also provides hides and skin for making musical drums, belts and shoes.
v. It can provide foreign exchange for the nation when livestock or its products are exported.
How Agricultural Land Appreciates In Value
Farmland may appreciate in value through the following ways:
i. Fertilization, manuring and living.
ii. Through reclamation and drainage.
iii. Through fallowing.
iv. Proper cultivation methods, e.g crop rotation.
v. Proper erosion control.
vi. Irrigation.
vii. Through rotational grazing.
3. Forestry: Land is used for forestry which involves the management of the forest and its resources for man’s use. Forest reserves are established where there is low pressure for cultivation or low population density, and where the land seems not to be suitable for agriculture.
Some forests are specially kept by government for specific purpose. Hence, they are called Forest Reserves.
Some Forest Reserves In Nigeria Are
i. Mamu River Forest Reserve in Anambra State.
ii. Omo Forest Reserve in Ogun State.
iii. Afi River Forest Reserve in Edo State.
iv. Okomu Forest Reserve in Edo State.
v. Anara Forest Reserve in Kaduna State.
vi. Shasha River Forest Reserve in Ogun State.
vii. Sakpoba Forest Reserve in Edo State.
viii. Zamfara Forest Reserve in Zamfara State.
ix. Sanga River Forest Reserve in Plateau State.
x. Awba Hills Forest Reserve in Oyo State.
Importance Or Merits Of Forest
i. Provision of food e.g. Fruit, bush meat, etc.
ii. Provision of fuel e.g. Firewood.
iii. Provision of medicinal herbs.
iv. Provision of employment e.g. Forest guards.
v. Formation of rain.
vi. Prevention of soil erosion.
vii. Forest is the home of wild animals.
viii. Forest beautifies the environment.
ix. Forest serves as tourist centres.
x. Provision of foreign exchange for the nation.
xi. Provision of timber for furniture.
xii. Provision of pulp used for tissue and paper making.
xiii. Forest reduces atmospheric pollution by removing carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen.
4. Wildlife Conservation: Land is also used for wildlife conservation. Wildlife refers to animals and birds found in the bush. Wildlife is conserved in game reserves which are centers of tourist attraction. Land which is not suitable for agriculture and forestry may be used for game reserve, located in sparsely populates areas. Game reserves are places where wild animals are conserved to avoid extinction while they are carefully and wisely exploited.
Poaching or the indiscriminate killing of animals in a game reserve should be prohibited. Also, forest fires, fishing with chemicals should be avoided.
Examples of game reserves in Nigeria are:
i. Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State.
ii. Kainji National Park in Kogi State.
iii. Zugurman Game Reserve in Niger State.
iv. Borgu Game Reserve in Kwara State.
Some animals conserved in game reserves include: elephants, tigers, lions, zebras, giraffes, monkeys, snakes, leopards, birds and turtles.
Importance Or Merits Of Wildlife/Game Reserves:
i. Wildlife is hunted to provide meat for food.
ii. Game reserves are centres of tourism.
iii. Game reserves provide employment to many people.
iv. Game reserves also generate income for the government.
v. Hides and skin from wildlife like zebra, giraffe and tiger are useful for domestic purposes.
vi. Prevention of wild life from extinction.
vii. Promotion of education and research works on wildlife.
viii. Encouragement of micro-climate of a locality with respect to rainfall.
5. Fishery: Some portion of land is set aside for the production of fish through fish farming. It involves the establishment of fish ponds where fishes are reared artificially to provide the necessary sources of protein and income for the people.
Importance Or Merits Of Fish Farming
i. It provides fish which serves as a source of food (i.e protein) to man and livestock.
ii. It provides a means of increasing the availability of protein to people at a reduced cost.
iii. It provides a means of recycling wastes e.g. Animal Dung’s from farms, factories and sewage disposal system.
iv. Fish can be processes into fish by products such as fish meal, fish oil and skin.
v. It provides employment and income to many people.
vi. A better use of land and water in our environment is also ensured through fish farming.
Uses Of Land For Non-Agricultural Purposes
1. Residential Purpose (e.g. Housing): This involves the use of land for the construction of residential houses and buildings. It also involves the development of towns, housing estates and all other forms of settlements. In urban areas, a large proportion of land is needed for the construction of residential buildings.
2. Transportation: Land is also used for construction of many forms of roads, railway line as well as airports. Transportation by road alone constitutes one of the uses of land, especially in urban areas.
3. Mining: Land where minerals are found are used for mining. In Nigeria, most of the land where petroleum, coal, tin and other minerals are located are used mainly for mining purposes.
4. Industrial Purpose: Industries are also located on Land. Majority of the industries are located in industrial estates which constitute a large proportion of urban land.
Other Non-Agricultural Uses Of Land Include:
1. Sport centres e.g stadia, race course and golf course.
2. Educational purpose, e.g schools.
3. Markets.
4. Worship places, e.g churches, mosques and shrines.
5. Carpentry.
6. Commercial purposes, e.g banks and warehouses.