Multi-criteria evaluation of suitable sites for termite mounds construction in a tropical lowland

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Catena, 2019, 178 pp. 359 - 371
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Termite mounds influence ecosystem heterogeneity and contribute to the stabilization of the system under global change. A number of environmental factors influence the distribution, height, diameter and designs of termite mounds but these factors are not only poorly understood, they cannot be extrapolated for everywhere. In this study, we employed a ground based survey and Geographical Information System (GIS) technique to map 156 km 2 study area in Keffi, Nigeria. The aims were to (1) estimate the density and area covered by termite mounds, (2) sample and identify species types and how they are distributed, and (3) use five environmental factors (elevation, geology, surface water drainage, land use/land cover and static water level) to model suitable sites for mounds construction. A total of 361 mounds were mapped representing a density of about 0.8 mounds ha −1 and covering only about 0.31% of the studied area. Next, the effect of the five chosen environmental factors on the geographic distribution, life status, height and diameter of mounds and species diversity were analysed and their relationships plotted in pairwise comparison matrices using the Saaty's Analytical Hierarchy Process. Normalized rates for classes in each factor and corresponding weights were computed and aggregated using the Weighted Linear Combination method. The result depicted that moderate to low elevation (270–330 m amsl), rock cover types that are more susceptible to weathering (schist), cultivated areas and shallow water table zones are most favourable for termites to build mounds. The result obtained in this study shows a promising correlation between the environmental factors and termite mounds distribution. The proposed model can easily be replicated in a different but similar multi-land use and rock cover types.
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