Climate

The Nkor council area is characterised by two main seasons, namely, the rainy and dry seasons. The dry season runs from October to March and is characterised by high temperatures and dusty conditions, a major trademark of the northeast trade winds. The rainy season begins from March and ends in October with its peak periods in July and August. It is characterised by low temperature and moist conditions, peculiar of the southeast trade winds that brings rain. It is worth noting that during the months of December and January the air is very dry and cold during the morning and evening periods and very hot in the afternoon periods.

In reality, Noni climatology identifies four seasons in a year, namely; Nyiim ( the dry season), which runs from the beginning of December to the ending of February; Mondvuum , which marks the transition from the dry season to the rainy season, runs from the beginning of March to the ending of May; the rainy season proper, known as Bvudaam, runs from the beginning of June to the ending of August; Fweh, which marks the transition from the rainy season to the dry season, runs from the beginning of September to November ending.

On account of the absence of a meteorological station within the council area, no record of actual temperatures exists. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that the council falls within the mid-altitude agro-ecological zone 5 (altitude : 800-1400m above mean sea level) that, like all other agro-ecological zones, has witnessed an increase in the maximum annual temperature, going from 28oC in 1987 to 34oC in 2005 – i.e. a staggering 21.43% increase in just six years. Despite this general trend, we still need specific temperature data in order to be better informed about the local micro-climate.

Topography

The Nkor municipality stands out as an area of irregular relief characterised by a configuration of highlands and lowlands. Plains, deeply grooved valleys and rolling hills, which give a distinctive relief feature to the area, interrupt the highlands. There are areas as high as 3 011meters around the Nyuiy hill in Dom village, and as low as 1050meters above sea level around the Bamti and Mee stretch of road, which lowlands are suitable for maize cultivation. The rugged and mountainous range of the Nyuiy hill that stretches right to the Kilum and Ijim Mountain ranges, almost completely circumscribe Noni Subdivision, opening the circumcircle a bit only to the north towards the Lassin end of the Nkor council area.

Hydrography

The Nkor council area has as its biggest water sheds the Bui-Mbim, Kilum and Ijim Mountain ranges. Some of the rivers include River Mbeim, which is the largest and takes its rise from the Ngonzen Hills, River Mee which takes it rise from the Dom hills, River Chau-Chau in Mbiim, River Kiwawah, which flows throw Awi and Eleh and empties in River Kimbi in Bum Subdivision, and whose waters are derived from those of streams flowing through Nkor and Mbinon, River Ntaan which takes its rise from the Dom hills and flows through Banten and Mbiim and empties in River Mee in the Mee plain, River Montfui which takes its rise from the Kilum mountain range in Oku Subdivision and flows through Oku, Ngeptang and Bamti and also empties in River Mee in the Mee plain , River Monkfui, which takes its rise from the lower reaches of the escarpment that marks the north-eastern end of the Ijim mountain range, flows down to Bamti and then snakes its way to its point of confluence with River Mee in the Mee plain, River Kitum, which takes its rise from the hills overlooking the Kichia settlement and also empties into River Mee in the Mee plain, River Sunka, which empties in River Kimbi, and whose waters are derived from those of Rivers Mee, Ntaan, Montfui, Monkfui and Kitum. All of these rivers flow through Noni Subdivision and empty into River Kimbi, which finally empties itself into River Katsina-Ala.

It should be clearly stated here that most rivers are gradually becoming streams due to encroachment on forestland by croppers in search of farmland. Wetlands are found mostly in Mee, Ebanya in Mbinon, and in Ebanya and Engew in Nkor. The upper reaches of most valleys give rise to springs and water catchment areas.

Soil

The main soil types found in this municipality are: modified orthic soil types found in Lassin, Mbinon, Din and part of Djottin, specifically in Gaggi and Bongi; Penevolutedferrallitic soils, regosolic and lithosolic soils characteristic of the steep slopes found in Nkor, Bvugoi (Dom) and in part of Djottin- i.e. in Buh and Chamkfung- and in part of Mbinon- i.e. in Nchine. These soil types could further be classified as:

- white clayey soil, that is very conspicuous in Djottin along the Djottin-Tadu road, on the Bvugoi-Banten road, along the Mbinon-Kuvlu road, and stretching into Donga-Mantung Division

- sandy soils, which are located along the lower reaches of streams and rivers, especially around sand deposits

- humus or top soil, which occurs mostly in the valleys and on flat hilltops

- hydromorphic soils, located in the lower reaches of flood plains, that are characterised by:

 their soft, wet and spongy nature

 an excess of soil moisture, leading to waterlogging that makes them feel soft, wet and spongy to walk on

 a deep top layer of undecomposed organic matter due to the fact that the excess water in the soil inhibits soil aeration, thereby creating a deficiency in soil oxygen, which in turn diminishes bacteriological activity and retards the decay of organic matter

- alluvial soils that are found along the banks of rivers and streams, and in most areas of flood plains that are not occupied by hydromorphic soils

- degraded humus soils that are found on most of the lower slopes of highland ranges and knolls that are subjected to overgrazing and compaction

- brownish loamy soils that are found between the flood plains and the contour limiting the croplands

- lateritic soils that are found everywhere beneath the top soil, and also on highlands depleted of vegetal cover, which have been subjected to high levels of erosion by runoff

Vegetation

The vegetation is mainly Montane, Sub-montane forest and Domesticated sub-montane landscape. The remnant of the montane forest has characteristic tree species like Prunus Africana (pygeum) Nuxia congesta, Schefflera species, and Maesa Lanceolota and Guidia glauca. The domesticated sub-montane landscape, which now looks like grassland, is occupied mainly by herders for the rearing of cattle, sheep, goats and horses. This landscape gives a beautiful green touristic view during the rainy seasons. And in the dry season, it is almost bare due to over exploitation by cattle.

Natural resources

In the past, the municipality was very rich in many natural resources. However, due to its population boom and the constant quest for farmland and shelter, these natural resources have been reduced to just the forests and mineral resources. More forest resources still have to be discovered in the remaining patches of forest areas found in the municipality. Resources found in the forests include Timber, Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP), and wildlife. There is no official data on the type and quantity of each of these resources. Nevertheless, from observations and informants, NTFP include Kola nuts, bush plum and honey.

Monkeys, antelopes, leopards, and pythons are some of the wildlife found in the forests. Several birds species are also found in the forests- e.g. Tauraco Bannermani (Bannerman's Turaco) from which the red feather for traditional tittles is got), Owls and Bats. Some of the mineral resources that can be found in this area include sand, stones and clay. However, the council is yet to exploit these minerals to the fullest, especially sand, as exploitation is presently done only artisanally at individual level. There are sand quarries in Lassin and Enkoweh.

Although the council has begun controlling sand exploitation, the control needs to be intensified because there is still a lot of illegal exploitation by individuals. The industrial exploitation of the huge sand quarry potential of Enkoweh is subject to the construction of a good access road.

On the whole then, the potentials of Nkor council area may be summarily presented as follows:

• Availability of good road-maintenance quality laterite on the slopes

• Rich fertile soils which can further be improved upon with organic or chemical manure;

• Relatively flat nature of the land, which can permit mechanization of farm operations;

• All-year-round provision of water in the plains by the rivers and perennial streams that flow through the plains;

• Availability of sand deposits and stones which can be used as civil engineering construction materials

• Scattered outcrops of some gemstone types in remote areas like Awi, Muntale and Gbenbvule

• Occurrence of a limited number of touristic sites such as caves , volcanic cones, challenging steep cliffs, shrines and sacred groves, palaces and sub-palaces, waterfalls and rolling hills with beautiful rainy season scenery

Indiscriminate and uncontrolled exploitation of some of these resources has led to depletion. Thus, there is need for effective management and protection to ensure sustainability.