Assessing wetland degradation and loss of ecosystem services in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

Ayansina Ayanlade, Ulrike Proske

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The Niger Delta, being the most extensive freshwater wetland and aquatic ecosystem in West Africa, provides numerous services both to local people and to the West African economy. Ongoing environmental pressure exerted by large-scale oil extraction and illegal timber logging, however, are suspected to have had a substantial impact on the Delta's ecosystems over the last decades. Knowledge on impact of these activities on the region's wetlands now or in the past is scarce and patchy. To address this lack of knowledge, this study assesses spatiotemporal changes in two wetlands in the region by using satellite data from 1984 to 2011 and GIS methods. The results show that both wetlands have experienced substantial degradation, particularly with respect to the area of forest lost. Although comprehensive environmental protection laws were introduced in 1988, ecosystem services of up to US$65 million in value were lost over the study period. The introduction of new legislation in 2007, however, is potentially a first step towards a more 'wise use' of wetlands in Nigeria. Journal compilation
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)828-836
    JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
    Volume67
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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