Mangroves of the Niger River Delta grade into several plant communities from land to sea. This mangrove is a biodiversity hot spot, and one of the richest in ecosystem services in the world, but due to lack of data it is often not mentioned in many global mangrove studies. Inland areas are sandy and mostly inhabited by button wood mangroves (Conocarpus erectus) and grass species while seaward areas are mostly inhabited by red (Rhizophora racemosa), black (Laguncularia racemosa) and white (Avicennia germinans) mangroves species. Anthropogenic activities such as oil and gas exploration, deforestation, dredging, urbanization and invasive nypa palms had changed the soil type from swampy to sandy mud soil. Muddy soil supports nypa palms while sandy soil supports different grass species, core mangrove soil supports red mangroves (R. racemosa), which are the most dominant of all species, with importance value (Iv) of 52.02. The red mangroves are adapted to the swampy soils. They possess long root system (i.e. 10 m) that originates from the tree stem to the ground, to provide extra support. The red mangrove trees are economically most viable as the main source of fire wood for cooking, medicinal herbs and dyes for clothes.
Part of the book: Mangrove Ecosystem Ecology and Function
Coastal area is in serious danger from land reclamation in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. This is because of land expansion activities such as urban development. Landscape reclamation is intended for urban city expansion, road construction, housing project, crude oil exploration and sand mining. Reclamation is carried out by both government and private developers. The government sometimes forcefully acquires coastal areas from the native community, remove the mangrove forest and sand fill the area in other to establish projects beneficial to the public. Private investors reclaim coastal areas to execute private business that would boost their economic fortunes. Oil companies clear coastal forest and set up oil wells and pipelines in swampy locations. Increasing population in small communities had also led to the reclamation of coastal areas to create room for the construction of houses to accommodate more people. However, many land reclamation activities are not development-centered, but business-centered. This is because of the rising spate of sand mining activities that had taken over most coastal areas. Sand mines are often abandoned after some years of operation. Reclamation is done without proper environmental impact assessment. This situation had led to the loss of many species.
Part of the book: Landscape Reclamation
Niger Delta is an oil rich region situated in the southern part of Nigeria. It is made up of nine states which hosts oil industries. There are a handful of businesses (super market, manufacturing companies, etc.) that service the over 40 million people living in the cities. This situation had led to the increase in solid waste in the city. Because of the problem of over population, and poor waste management strategies (e.g., lack of recycling habit and lack of equipment) the mangrove forest had become a dumping ground for waste. This action has impacted the health of aquatic and terrestrial organisms, and has created a public health disaster for citizens because of increase in heavy metal concentration up the food chain. This chapter therefore, identifies poverty, lack of planning, poor behavior and poor technology as key factors affecting effective waste management in the Niger Delta. It suggests that good waste management system can be worked out if there is coordination between research institution and government in the implementation of recommendation by research institutes. Attitudinal change is also necessary on the part of citizens and government to enable a healthy interaction for the purpose of managing waste effectively.
Part of the book: Municipal Solid Waste Management
Niger Delta mangroves are the largest in Africa, but uncontrolled anthropogenic activities had reduced their population size. The reduction from large to small mangrove stand has some ecological implications on species populations. For instance, stochastic events such as flooding, landslides, sea level rise, high temperature, and humidity affect small populations. Human-mediated actions of random deforestation for firewood production, canalization, and de-silting of waterways, lead to the complete elimination of mangrove stands in specific locations. The cumulative effect of these actions can result in local extinction and loss of genetic variation of mangroves. Destruction of mangroves over the years is detrimental to other species that inhabit the mangroves in the Niger Delta (e.g., fishes, crabs, etc.). This situation can be reversed or stopped if effective protective measures are adopted. Strict protective measures can be done in areas that are highly impacted i.e., regions where oil and gas exploration or massive deforestation activities had occurred. Limited protection can be done in areas with low impact, and is known as a win-win conservation where the peoples welfare is considered. Here, indigenous people are employed to help in the protection of the forest and in return are allowed to exploit its resources.
Part of the book: Habitats of the World
Mangroves of the Niger Delta are the largest in Africa and are the source of numerous ecosystem services such as firewood, seafood, building materials and medicinal herbs. Their sustainable use and protection are important for future generations. However, anthropogenic activities such as oil and gas exploration, urbanization, industrialization, dredging, overexploitation and sand mining are the major disturbances that have pushed the mangroves to the brink of extinction. Therefore, in other to restore lost areas of the mangroves natural and artificial means can be adopted to bring them to a restored state. More often than not emphasis of recovery had been placed on artificial remediation and restoration, where polluted sites are cleaned with chemicals and nursery seedlings transplanted to remediated such sites. Nevertheless, this chapter discusses the possibility of utilizing natural means of forest recovery through seedling recruitment and regeneration. This can be achieved by establishing the right environmental conditions such as setting up of a hydro-channel to ensure smooth inflow and out flow of river water carrying seeds, availability of parent mangrove trees to supply the seeds, and the availability of the right soil condition to enable seedling germination and growth. The use of dried and ground mangrove parts as a new way for restoring polluted soil is discussed; in addition, the unconventional proposition of using low key pollution to manage and increase forest resilience is highlighted in this work even though further studies are recommended. Future direction of mangrove restoration should be tilted towards the application of the force of nature, which has the potentials of reversing the adverse effect of anthropogenic activities in well managed and protected sites.
Part of the book: Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration