The Institute of Erosion Studies (IES) is an organized autonomous research unit established to combat erosion related problems such as soil erosion, soil conservation, and general environmental degradation. The Institute is essentially a research unit but also offers training, extension, post graduate studies and consultancy services in the area of erosion and watershed management.
Institute of Erosion Studies (IES) FUTO offers professional services in the following areas;
- Geotechnical/hydraulic laboratory services.
- Weather data acquisition and interpretation.
- Geomatics station for soil/flow analysis.
- Consultancy services in the areas soil analysis and flood control.
- Specialized library services with relevant books and journals in the areas of soil analysis, flood control, metrological weather information.
- Specialized certificate and post graduate programmes on soil erosion control and watershed management.
Primarily, the Institute is envisioned to be a renowned Research Centre by evolving a conducive learning environment for novel researches tailored towards detecting and solving environmental problems. The Institute should be a depository and custodian of data relating to erosion and flood management, properly situated to becoming an International Centre of Excellence and Reference in these and emerging environmental issues.
The MISSION of the Institute of Erosion Studies is to train, plan, conduct and coordinate researches as well as offering consultancy services on various types and forms of soil erosion and related environmental problems – run-off generation, soil structure degradation, badlands, sedimentation processes, hydrology, effect of erosion on settlement patterns, transportation, physical infrastructure, farming systems, food production and environmental control measures; development of joint research and training programs (collaboration) with related Institutions so as to understand and combat all forms of erosion – whether sheet, rill, tunnel, gully or coastal and to offer solution to the degradation consequences on soil conservation in Nigeria and the West African Sub-region.
HISTORY/BACKGROUND STUDY OF THE INSTITUTE OF EROSION STUDIES (IES)
The Institute of Erosion Studies (IES) is an organized autonomous research unit established to combat erosion – related problems such as soil erosion, soil conservation, and general environmental degradation. The Institute is essentially a research unit but also offers training, extension and consultancy services in the area of erosion.
The FUTO Institute of Erosion Studies (IES) started in 1984 as Erosion Research Project (ERP) that resulted from a collaborative linkage program between the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) Imo State Nigeria, on the one hand and the Delft University of Technology (DUT) and the Wageningen Agricultural University (WAU) both in the Netherlands on the other hand.
This linkage program came under the training program covered by Lome II agreement between the European Economic Committee (EEC) Commission and the African – Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) countries financed from the European Development Fund (EDF).
The selection of FUTO in the training program was based on the success of a research proposal jointly submitted by Engr. Prof. C. O. G. Obah and Dr. C. I. Ijioma of FUTO, and Engr. D. O. Aneke, a soil and water Agricultural Engineer in the then Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Water Resources, in Owerri. The research proposal was submitted in June, 1982 in response to an advertisement and call for research proposal from the commission of EEC in Lagos to all Nigerian Universities.
The objectives of the phase I of the Erosion Research Project were heavily weighted in favour of training, with a relatively small emphasis being placed on research in the area of erosion. Nigerian staffs were trained in Europe while Dutch students were trained in Nigeria. Also teaching staff from European Universities were seconded to FUTO. The necessary infrastructure for research in erosion were developed in the first phase and some consultancy activities in erosion control for various State and Federal Government Ministries and Parastatals in different locations in the south East Nigeria were conducted. This phase was concluded with an international symposium on erosion and the referred proceedings of that symposium have since become a reference publication for erosion studies.
A renewal of the Erosion Research Project was effected in 1989 under the Lome III agreement. In this second phase, there was a drastic shift in emphasis towards rural development and the attendant applied research and extension for the attainment of rural development. The project was now placed under the Oil Palm Belt Development Programme. Serious efforts were made to influence the land use habits of Nigerian populace since research results had shown that these habits accounted for most of the erosion problems in the country. Training workshops for engineers engaged in Civil Engineering works were severally organized. There were Television and radio talks, newspaper publications, technical reports and the publication of quarterly Erosion news. A National seminar for practicing engineers which resulted in the production of an internationally acclaimed hand book on Management and Control of Erosion in Engineering practice was organized. Another National seminar was also organized for farmers.
The second phase experienced the expansion of the collaborative Universities in Europe to include at a minor level; Utretch State University, Utrech University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam; The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) Amsterdam; International Institute for aerial Survey and Earth Science (ITC), Enschede and the International Institute for Land reclamation and Improvement (ILRI), Wageningen in the Netherlands; and the Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven (KUL), Belgium.
The second phase was terminated in September, 1992 with the infrastructural development of fabricated imported buildings to house the research laboratories and offices at the present permanent site of the project. Before the termination of the second phase the FUTO Senate had approved the upgrading of the Erosion Research Project (ERP) to an Erosion Research Centre (ERC). Prof. I. C. Onwuneme became the first Substantive Director of the Centre, Prof. J. O. Duru was appointed the Deputy Director while the then Dr. C. I. Ijioma was appointed the Assistant Director. The tail end of the second phased also witnessed the inception of an international journal of Erosion and Environmental Degradation for dissemination of research results.
It was evident that in the linkage agreements signed by FUTO and the Dutch Universities and endorsed by the National Universities Commission, a recommendation was made for the eventual establishment of an Institution of a regional or even National Erosion Studies Centre at FUTO. With the development of relevant infrastructure and expertise in the ERC and based on the application from FUTO in February 1991, the NUC approved the establishment of the Institute of Erosion Studies (IES) in FUTO in November 1992. The mandate of the Institute was expanded to plan, conduct, co-ordinate research, consultancy and general public service in the areas of soil erosion, soil conservation, and general environmental degradation due to human and natural forces. The pioneer Director of the Institute was Engr. Dr. C. I. Ijioma (now Prof.) of the Department of Agricultural Engineering.
With the termination of external funding from the EDF, the Institute of Erosion Studies reached out to other prospective funding agencies under the British Council Programmes and the then Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) now Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja in 1993. FEPA responded to the earlier applications from IES by approving the IES in FUTO as linkage centre (to be funded by FEPA) to complement FEPA’s role in the United Nations Agenda, 21 for issues on gully erosion. By this provision, the Institute of Erosion Studies would mainly provide specialized training, conduct research in gully erosion and assist FEPA in its national mandate through liaison with the spatially appropriate FEPA Zonal Offices in Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and Port Harcourt. By that linkage programme agreement with FEPA, the Senate of the FUTO approved a postgraduate diploma in Erosion and Environmental Studies in the Institute of Erosion Studies in the latter years following the approval for a postgraduate diploma in IES, the Management of IES assumed a leadership role in the development of the academic programme for a first degree for a Department of Environmental Technology in FUTO.
The Institute has maintained its glamorous name by being identified as a centre of excellence for advanced research studies in erosion and related fields. In line with the University mantra of- “Continuing with the quest for Excellence” the Institute’s outstanding performances have earned her numerous collaborations with notable organizations and government agencies which include- world bank, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Agency (NEWMAP), Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) among others. The Institute of Erosion Study-FUTO has to date become an indispensable tool for various researches in this University benefitting virtually all the schools (SEET, SESET, SICT, SOES, SAAT, SMAT, SOPS and SOBS).
Currently, the services of IES FUTO is available to numerous undergraduate, post graduate students from different institutions of learning and some private organizations in related fields.
The Institute of Erosion Studies (IES) is housed in a bungalow building and consists of offices for the Director and other staff. The Institute has a well-equipped Laboratory, classrooms and library.