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The fragile Sudano-Sahelian ecological zone of Nigeria has been classified as a hotspot of land cover change (LCC) that has been suffering from serious anthropogenic and biophysical stresses. Damaturu, being the fastest growing town situated in the region happened to be a victim of this negative development. The purpose of this study is to remotely observe and assess the prevailing land-use/land-cover (LULC) dynamics of Damaturu town and its delicate surrounding lands from the year 1987-2017 study periods. To achieve this, a supervised image classification technique with Maximum Likelihood Classifier (MLC) algorithm was used in ERDAS Imagine version 15 software to classify the three epochs multi-temporal and multi-spectral Landsat imageries (TM 1987, ETM+7 2000 and OLI 2017). The classified LULC maps and their resulting statistics were then used to assess the spatio-temporal aspects of the observed changes by placing the results within the wider context of previous related literature and evidences. Findings revealed that the built-up area has been expanding since 1987 with an annual change rate of 4.5% between 1987-2000, and 5.3% during 2000-2017 respectively. The growth of the town is being accompanied by massive farmlands expansion and vegetal cover (trees and shrubs) lost making the surrounding arable lands seriously disturbed. Thus, if the observed trends continue, the entire studied region will be subjected to severe environmental hazard such as desertification. Overall, the study provides valuable information required for sustainable environmental management.
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