Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity
Nigeria has an estimated mangrove area of 10,515 Km2, which forms about 5.8% of world total mangrove area, and the largest in Africa. Nigeria also ranks fourth among the eight countries where large mangrove reserves still exist, behind Indonesia, Brazil and Australia. With the exception of Nigeria, these countries with very large areas of mangroves have significant number of mangrove protected areas while still promoting mangrove afforestation and reforestation projects. Nigeria, on the contrary, has no gazetted mangrove-protected areas, neither are there mangrove restoration projects at present. Global forests including mangroves are depleting at an alarming rate. Climate change and its impacts are evident in our country. It is common knowledge that mangrove ecosystem offers great resilience to climate change impacts. It is also common knowledge that coastal regions are most vulnerable to climate change effects. Therefore, policy and legislation are urgently needed for the conservation and restoration of Nigeria’s mangrove ecosystem, which not only supports rural livelihoods but also provides protection from climate change-related hazards, especially of ocean origin. Such policies and legislations will establish implementation strategies including inventory of the mangrove resources, developing the framework for a “National Mangrove Park”, instituting mangrove restoration programmes with requisite monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and promoting community awareness. Community-based approach has been adjudged the most successful in natural resources conservation globally, and is therefore recommended for this proposal.
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