Niger Delta Mangrove Project
Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRCC), has a project on restoration and sustainable management of the Niger Delta mangrove, located in the Atlantic coast of Southern Nigeria and considered a global biodiversity hotspot. The project targets planting back about 100,000 mangroves trees in the next 3 years and will be piloted in Akwa Ibom State. On successful implement, it will be upscale (expanded within the region and will target about 1,000,000 in the next project phase).
This project is about restoration and sustainable management of the Niger Delta mangrove, located in the Atlantic coast of Southern Nigeria and considered a global biodiversity hotspot. Niger Delta mangroves together with the creeks and rivers are a major source of food and livelihood for millions of people. The Niger Delta mangroves perform all four categories of ecosystem services identified in the Millennium Ecosystem Services report: regulating, provisioning, cultural, and supporting services. These include atmospheric and climate regulation, flood and erosion control, wood and forest crops for cooking fuel, construction, and traditional medicine, nutrient cycling, and habitat for fish nurseries. This ecosystem also plays important role in climate change mitigation because of its high blue carbon sequestration potential. This is particularly important because of continuous gas flaring in Niger Delta from petroleum operations, which releases carbon dioxide among other gases into the atmosphere. Mangroves constitute important nurseries for fishes, crustaceans, sponges, algae and other invertebrates, and also acts as a sink, retaining pollutants from contaminated tidal water. Mangroves are also used as shelter and breeding grounds by mammals, shore birds, reptiles, many insects etc. Unfortunately, this unique ecosystem is on the decline and at the verge of been totally lost. Mangrove forests are converted to farmlands and the trees are cut for timber,fuel, house construction and so on without restoring. Consequently, many coastal communities in the Niger Delta are losing their lives and primary livelihoods due to increased vulnerability to floods as a result of the disappearance of mangroves which usually serve as defense in times of coastal flooding. They are also now exposed to the high intensity of sunlight and heat waves as the land lay bare of trees to regulate sun rays. Therefore, there is urgent need to restore/conserve the mangroves of the Niger Delta region. The project targets planting back about 100,000 mangroves stands in the next 3 years and will be piloted in four communities in Akwa Ibom State namley: Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno, Mbo. On successful implement, it will be upscale (expanded to other mangrove communities within the region and will target about 1,000,000 in the next project phase). The project has already mobilised about 100 local youths as volunteers to assist in planting/managing the mangroves. -Increased community knowledge and skills in sustainable ecosystem utilization practices. -Degraded mangrove sites restored and sustainable managed; ensuring protective habitat for many coastal species. - •Increased food security and economic resilience :Increased in number of juvenile crabs, fish, shrimps, snails, periwinkles, turtles etc as their habitat (mangrove) is improved for their survival, thus protecting and sustaining an important food source for coastal communities. •Indirect employment opportunities created (for over 5000 returning fishermen and 3000 women for the collection of aquatic produce – fish, crayfish, crabs, periwinkles,shrimps,oysters etc •Reduced coastal erosion/flood; as mangrove vegetation helps in protecting coastlines against wave damage during storms. • Reduced exposure to the high intensity of sunlight and heat among dwellers. The project is in line with the “National Poverty Reduction Strategy” which supports improving local resource management as a key element of poverty reduction; the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) ratified in Nigeria in 1994; the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources; the Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Protection in the Western Hemisphere; Agenda 21; the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. It is also consistent with aims and objectives of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP); UNIDO and Niger Delta Biodiversity Bio-diversity Programme recommendations for mangrove conservation within the region.Here links on mangroves which can help one learn more about importance of mangroves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwTZhyA57mA; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-54241533 Can provide financial or technical support. This project phase is estimated at the cost of $50,000 (with each mangrove at the cost of $0.5); amount secured is $14000; while amount needed is $36,000. A support of $20 will plant 4 mangrove trees;$50 will plant 100 trees;$100 will plant 200 mangroves;$500 will plant 1000 trees.
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