This paper examines aspects of the agricultural and related resource- management systems found in an area of southeastern Nigeria that contains some of the highest rural population densities in sub-Saharan Africa. The original data come from a series of village-level surveys carried out in Imo State in the southern portion of Igboland. The surveys were conducted under the auspices of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria, with the objective of providing baseline data and analysis for the implementation of improved resource-management systems for this kind of area. Earlier studies and surveys are also examined to supplement and compare with the recent field data. The first of the three main sections briefly examines environmental and demographic conditions in the major agroecological region in Imo State, which is where the highest population densities are found. The second section deals with the elements of agricultural change in the survey regions and the variations among areas of differing population density. The third section then examines the range of ways in which farming and resource systems have adapted to the combination of high land-use pressures and major environmental constraints on production. The conclusion discusses the nature and extent of change in the survey areas and some of the implications of the experience of this region.
Imo State is located in the humid forest zone of southeastern Nigeria, an area characterized by high rainfall, highly weathered acidic sandy