Ecosystem services

5BDCP has several notable experiences at executing similar projects on environmental sustainability and sustainable development of the Nigerian ecosystem. Some of the projects stretch to neighbouring West African countries and Guinea Current Large Ecosystem (GCLME) countries. These projects were attracted by BDCP and funds provided by the donor agencies were augmented by BDCP and the respective Ministries (where applicable).

Below is a list of them:
i. Ethnobotanical studies in Imo State and Ukwa-Ndoki areas of Rivers State of Nigeria. (BDCP/NCF)
ii. Inventories of Plant Species in the Obanshi-Okwangwo forest complex in Calabar. Others include the Mabeta-Moliwe forest, the Campo Ma’an, and the Ejagham forest. (BDCP/NCF)
iii. Enhancing conservation and rationale Utilization of Medicinal, Aromatic and Pesticidal Plants through Sustainable Land Management (UNIDO/GEF)
iv. Integrated Conservation and Participatory Sustainable Management of Biodiversity in the Niger Delta: (UNDP/BDCP/FME/GEF-PDF)
v. Economic Valuation Studies Expert of the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystems (GCLME) project. (UNIDO/BDCP)
vi. Implementation of a Public Awareness Programme in relation to Mangrove Depletion and Proposed Re-forestation (UNIDO GCLME/BDCP)
vii. Assessment of Control Measures for Nypa Palm Infestation in Nigeria (UNIDO GCLME/BDCP)
viii. Restoration and the Conjunctive Sustainable Management of Native Mangroves and Nypa Palms in the Cross river Estuary of Nigeria (UNIDO GCLME/BDCP)
ix. Communicating Low Cost Energy Saving Techniques for Sustainable Mangrove Utilization in Akwa-Ibom State (UNDP/GEF-SGP/BDCP)
x. Deep forest cultivation of the medicinal plant Calabar bean (Physostigma venonosum) in Akamkpa and Owei forests of Cross – River State to increase the population of an economically useful species without disturbing the fragile ecosystem
xi. Community Engagement and Baseline Survey of the Niger Delta (UNDP/GEF Strategic Programme for West Africa-Niger Delta Biodiversity Project/BDCP)

The mangrove forest of Nigeria is the third largest in the world and the largest in Africa. Over 60% of these mangroves or 6,000 square kilometers is found in the Niger-Delta. The fresh water swamps are 11,700 kilometers in area. Mangrove forest grows along the coast and delta areas of Nigeria. Mangroves are found in all coastal states of Nigeria namely- Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, and River States. The area is generally referred to as the Niger Delta and most of the communities are under-developed making the area generally difficult to assess. The Niger Delta is also the oil-producing area of Nigeria. The Communities which inhabit this area are made of mainly of fishermen and women in the purely riverine areas and farmers, in the drier upper areas. They also had some local industries based on the mangrove and the surrounding swamp waters, e.g. local salt Industry, mat making etc. These edaphic communities are a result of the constantly changing conditions brought about by river deposits, formation of sand bars, lagoons, temporary swamps caused by alterations in river channels, lake borders and drainage patterns, tidal movements of salty and brackish water, in estuaries as well as for considerable distances upstream, and even the effects of wave action along seacoasts on the deposition of silt, mud or sand.

Coastal ridge barriers, mangrove and fresh water swamp forests characterize the ecology of the Niger Delta and lowland rain forest each of which provides habitation for different species of plants, fish, reptiles, mammals and minerals. The two major mangrove species found in the coastal states are the Red mangrove (Rhizophora racemosa) and White mangrove (Avicennia spp.).
The project was carried out by BDCP to protect and restore the mangrove depletion through public awareness and reforestation promotion in the Gulf of Guinea Large Marine Ecosystems (GCLME) and its natural resources in coastal Nigeria.
Our specific objective was to carry out a public awareness and public participation campaign aimed at sensitizing coastal communities and other important stakeholders on the risks associated with the continued destruction of the mangrove forest and the consequent deterioration of the ecosystem and the depletion of associated living resources.

In order to implement this project properly, BDCP carried out these activities:
I. Identifying the Mangrove Forests In Nigeria And Establishing Network.
II. Development and Review Of Data Collection Tools.
III. Assessment of the Identified Sites.
IV. Undertake Outreach Programmes Aimed At Stopping Further Decimation Of Mangrove Forests.
V. Analysis/ Assessment Of Data/Information Collected
VI. Suggest Preferred Sites With Detailed Description As Necessary For The Planned Re-Forestation Programme.
VII. Enlist Willingness Of Coastal Populations And All Other Stakeholders.
VIII. To Sensitize Concerned State Governments On The Benefits Of Creating Forest Reserves And Promotion Of Their Establishment.
IX. To Prepare And Submit A Report To The Contracting Organization – UNIDO

The high level of decimation/degradation of the mangrove forest of Nigeria located within Niger Delta region has led the government to undertake the task of control of the Nypa palm under the GCLME project. Such an action, along with the planned re-forestation project, will no doubt restore the country’s mangrove ecosystem. However, the success of these actions is dependent upon a carefully implemented awareness and public participation campaign which has been carried out in this project.
The public awareness programs have effectively educated and sensitized the local communities and State Governments, and have generated a lot of positive interest in participatory management of the mangrove resources by all stakeholders including the oil companies. It is hoped that the support of the Federal and State Government, instillation of a sense of ownership of the resources by the local population, and their legal empowerment so that they are able to institute and execute control measures on their mangrove resources will serve as essential components in the process aimed at achieving full community support for the sustainable utilization and management of mangrove forests. It is thus expected that local communities will begin to protect and to plan better ways of exploiting their mangrove resources using knowledge/skills acquired through the awareness campaigns.

The Nypa palm (Nypa fruticans) had been introduced by the British colonial government from Singapore Botanical Garden into the Cross River Estuary in the former Eastern Nigeria, to Calabar in 1906 as well as Oron and Opopo in 1912 (Key, 1953). Other oral sources relate that Nypa was introduced to check coastal erosion and that it enjoyed total protection by law. There are anecdotal accounts that people were prosecuted and imprisoned by the colonial administration for as much cutting a frond of the palm. It has now spread westwards along the coast down to latitude 40E. By the early 1990s Nypa had been recognised as a serious invasive “weed” (see King 1999).

Generally in these areas where the Nypa abound, the palm has no uses apart from its use as thatch; though some communities in Ondo use its sap in concoctions for the treatment of malaria and its leaves as cattle feed. While communities in Cross River State value it for storm protection to their settlements.
There had been past efforts by certain organizations such as the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) to promote the use of Nypa palm for other uses. These uses include the experimental use of the hard shell (Endocarp) in the making of buttons necklaces and other fashion apparels as well as domestic materials. For this strategy to make a reasonable impact on the population of the palm, a market chain for sale of these products must be developed.

The palm, however, exerts a negative impact on the mangrove ecosystem through its ability to out compete and repress other mangrove species, leading to a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function. While the ecological need to control the spread of the plant was obvious to experts, some communities consulted during this study do not share this view. Strategies for control, repression, or eradication in line with community perceptions were discussed and outlined.
The following were the Terms of Reference of the Project:
1. Delimit and quantify the extent of infestation of the Mangrove forests by Nypa Palm along the Nigerian Coast
2. Document the impact of Nypa Palm infestation on the Mangrove sub-ecosystem of coastal Nigeria and on the livelihoods of coastal populations.

Activities required to contain Nypa threat.
From ecological perspective the displacement of mangrove vegetation by alien Nypa is regarded as a serious threat to the existence of the original mangrove. However, the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) conducted during the present study has not shared this view. Therefore, in order to contain this perceived threat, it is necessary to take the following steps.
a) control of Nypa by utilization such as using the seed as earrings, fronds as mat and regular harvest of fronds; it is noted that 3 cuttings of Nypa killed them
b) up rooting of Nypa plants in states where the Nypa is not yet a threat; which is however difficult
c) instituting a coastal management system/Nypa work station involving regeneration of mangrove with local participation, enrichment planting, adoption of agroforestry interventions and practices, and establishment of forest reserves or strict forest reserves (SNRs), to regulate the management of mangrove/Nypa formations.
d) Training and capacity building on the procedures and techniques of Nypa products utilization as enumerated in this report. The willingness of the communities to engage in such training should be utilized with appropriate infrastructural development and incentives structure.

Suggested Action Plan
The project went on to identify action plan for the control of Nypa at different levels: Individual and community level; Government Level; International Level; and Collective.

(1) The suggested action plan and policy framework set out above should be considered and implemented in order to develop as well as use sustainably the species and sites of conservation interest in the mangrove ecosystem.
(2) The issue of wholesale Nypa eradication should be given a second thought since the local inhabitants of fishing settlements are convinced that its usefulness far outweighs its perceived adverse impacts
(3) It is expedient therefore to control Nypa distribution by its judicious regular exploitation
(4) Any approach adopted should be seen to involve the communities and the latter should be fully involved in the management process.
(5) The Nypa Management Team, Work Station and Project Offices should be established as shown in the report and activities as well as monitoring of the projects should far exceed the recommended period of 4years.

All over the tropical world, mangroves are regularly harvested by coastal communities to meet their daily needs. In Nigeria, mangroves are used for charcoal, firewood, wood distillation, poles making, building and flooring of houses, foundation piling, scaffolding, fishing stakes and pit-props just to mention a few. The increasing demand for mangrove forest wood and the gradual but steady encroachment and spread of the Nypa palm (an invasive mangrove forest plant) has exposed the mangrove forests of Nigeria’s coastal States to gradual but steady degradation and consequent depletion (i.e. 2604 km2 of mangrove forest lost between 1980 and 2006; UNEP, 2007). The steady degradation and deforestation of mangroves limited the ability of the mangrove vegetations to fulfil its numerous functions. Indigenous fishing communities in coastal Nigeria harvest mangrove wood mainly for household domestic energy purposes especially cooking and fish smoking. These have put severe pressure on the mangrove forests leading to steady coastal degradation and deforestation.
This project focused on building the capacity of local communities on the conjunctive management and restoration of the mangrove ecosystem in Akwa Ibom State; using low cost energy efficient fish smoking ovens. Thus, promote environment friendly technology, and the transfer of knowledge on natural resource governance that encourage sustainable utilization of mangrove forests and associate ecosystems.

Objective of the project
• Enhancement of community participation by creating new cooperatives and integrating existing ones.
• To empower communities through education & awareness creation to sustainably utilize mangroves.
• The transfer of knowledge and development of the capacity of local communities in the use of time saving, cheap & environmentally friendly method of smoking fish.
• Sustainable increase in the income fishing communities, improvement in living standard, nutrition and quality of fish smoked.
• Assist fishing communities in the establishment of forest management/ governance laws

Health implication of indeginous fish smoking methods
• Fish smoking is predominantly carried out by women in the communities visited. Though a fairly lucrative activity, it has its side effects. Major side effects reported by women in Eastern Obolo include:
• Dehydration of the eyes;
• Internal body heat (i.e. increasing internal body temperature);
• Chronic weakness of the body and dizziness;
• Abortion during early stage of pregnancy;
• Induced premature labour in expectant mothers;
• Fire accidents leading to loss of lives and properties; and
• Acute waist and general body pains.

Project benefits to implementing communities
• Hands on task skills acquisition by community technicians from the NIOMR training workshop in Lagos
• Reinforcement of existing women cooperatives in the project areas
• Engaging interested community members in monthly meetings on environmental education
• Training at NIOMR
• Training of Women
• Environmental Education
• Creation of awareness on the state of the environment and ways of ameliorating the effects of a degraded environment through sustainable utilization
• The oven model can easily be replicated with minimal training
• There is an increase in the incomes and living standard of indigenous community members through an increased turnover in the quantity of fish smoked
• Improve rate of forest regeneration as a result of sustainable mangrove utilization
• The establishment and institution of forest laws/ governance structure will assist in the control of natural resources use
• The use of the NIOMR oven would reduce food poisoning from poorly processed fish, lung failure and poor eye sight from fuel wood smoke and reduce green house gas emissions from fish smoking activities

Products generated by the project
• Design, fabrication and use of 5 NIOMR fish smoking ovens by community members
• Acquisition of knowledge on threatened species associated with mangrove over dependence
• Introduction and observance of forest governance laws by community members
• Acquisition of skills on NIOMR fish smoking oven design and fabrication
• Monthly meeting of community leaders and associate members to discuss natural resources conservation

Advantages of NIOMR oven
• Removes the laborious rotation of fish – a major drudgery which is associated with traditional fish smoking
• Removes constant attention to flame and fish to prevent possibility of charring, thus creating more time for other household activities
• Improves batch capacity
• Shortens batch process
• Removes health hazards like smoke in the eyes and inhalation of gaseous products of incomplete combustion
• Produces dried fish that are more hygienic and free from grits and heavy smoke deposits
• Adapts fully to the rectangular mud ovens most prevalent in many villages
• Is suitable for industrial and household smoking of fish
• Is adaptable to scale of operation


The continent of Africa is endowed with an enormous wealth of biological diversity. Its enormously varied geophysical features have generated a great range of biological, terrestrial, aquatic and marine resources as well as very high species diversity and endemism. The West Africa sub-region is a major site of agricultural biodiversity.The savanna belt has the largest variety and quantities of grain and leguminous food plants in Nigeria, with several of these crops fulfilling multiple functions as sources of food, medicine and cash. Medicinal and aromatic plant species are an important component of the region’s biodiversity, and they play a significant role in meeting the health care needs of the majority of the human population as well as the raw material needs of agro-based industries. Cosmetic, dietary and pharmaceutical companies are now heavily using them. It is estimated that they contribute as much as 2% of the Gross National Product, employ as many as five million people and provide means of livelihood for millions of West Africans, especially the traditional healers.

Nigeria is located in the part of West Africa with varied climatic conditions rich in highly variable transboundary biological diversities notably wild and domesticated crops with many landraces with unique characteristics especially medicinal, aromatic and pesticidal (MAP) plant flora as well as herbs, spices and oil seeds. Normally, the flora of the countries is rich in indigenous medicinal, aromatic and pesticidal plants, as well as herbs and spices, mainly the Annonaceae, gramineae, Lamiaceae, Meliaceae, Myrtaceae and Rutaceae. Many of them grow in sub-serial or successional communities in various states of ecological development or degradation, and are adapted to arid or semi-arid conditions. The importance of these plants as a source of preventive and/or curative health value has been recognized by local people since time immemorial. It is estimated that about 2,000 plant species are employed directly in traditional medicine in West Africa, with several others used as recipients or additives for the preparation of plant medicines. Major medicinal plants found in Nigeria are Garcinia kola, Irvingia gabonensis, Aframomum melegutta, Curcuma longa etc. However, these plants are being threatened by the growing incidence of land degradation and unsustainable agricultural practices.

This “biological-industrial interface”, is today a crucial basis for national economic development and global competitiveness in the G-8 industrialized countries. At the same time, it represents an opportunity for developing countries like Nigeria to use their natural resource endowment as a seed capital in building a sustainable basis for national development. Outside their cultural setting, West African medicinal plants play significant roles in modern medicine either as vegetable drugs or sources of active leads for drug development. Many modern pharmaceuticals and everyday herbs owe their origin to Africa. Examples include the antileukemic plant-drug Catharanthus roseus, Rauwolfia vomitoria, noted for its antihypertensive, antiarrhythmic and antipsychotic activities, and Calabar bean Physostigma venonosum, the source of the glaucoma drug physostigmine which is currently being evaluated for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In the horticultural and perfumery industry, African plants are highly priced and much prized for their aesthetic value and significance.

For medicinal, aromatic and pesticidal plants, their availability, distribution and sustainable use have proved to be a good indicator of the environmental health of an ecosystem in general and they play a pivotal role in the provision of incentive measures for biodiversity conservation in developing countries. Proper management of MAP plants and other components of biodiversity present a feasible intervention mechanism to positively exploit the nexus between environmental degradation, poverty and land use. Although there is a global emphasis on sustainability, conservation and mainstreaming of biodiversity, and environmental health but these objectives should not negate enhancement of agricultural productivity.
Much of the increase in food production globally during the past 40 years can be attributed to agricultural research, with Internal Rates of Return (IRR) of 30–50% for most crops (Pinstrup-Andersen et al., 1997) and up to 200% for MAP plants. Mainstreaming of MAP plants conversely reduces the need to use more land for the production of commercial crops for cash needed for food, medicines and other consumable goods. On the other hand, it has been firmly established that, land use is a central factor in an ecological–economic analysis of biodiversity.

Considerable efforts have been made in recent years to find mechanisms that increase the benefits farmers derive from biodiversity including developing new income opportunities dependent on biodiversity, such as ecotourism; returning to local communities royalties from genetic material collected in a specific area; sustainable industrial utilization of MAP plants; and compensating local communities for protecting critical biodiversity. Nigeria have recognized that complementary conservation measures are necessary to ensure that agricultural expansions cause the least possible damage to biodiversity in production landscapes but rather serve as vehicles for mainstreaming biodiversity into these agricultural productive landscapes.

BDCP carried out this project in order to improve and mainstream MAP plant biodiversity within agricultural production landscapes through the conservation and sustainable utilization of indigenous wild growing and cultivated medicinal, aromatic and pesticidal plants in semi-arid and arid agro-ecosystems in selected transboundary sites. Thus, protecting key areas within the growing agricultural landscape and restoring the vegetation through replanting native MAP flora in degraded and unproductive agricultural areas would contain further damage to biodiversity by agriculture.
This project was designed to enhance voluntary efforts by farmers to incorporate the maintenance of diversity as a tool in the control of land degradation and the mainstreaming of MAP plants biodiversity in Nigeria. Through the project, stakeholders identified in the local farming communities worked together to map their own soil resources including MAP plants, and areas suffering land degradation so as to develop and implement appropriate management strategies for MAP plants conservation and mainstreaming in the semi-arid and arid agricultural production landscape.

The following was identified as critical natural resources depletion, MAP plants conservation and land degradation issues that required urgent attention:
• find innovative ways to counter adverse environmental and socio-economic impacts of anthropogenic and natural pressures on agricultural land and natural resources;
• encourage active participation of pertinent stakeholders especially rural communities and the private sector in strategic policy decisions in respect of natural resources, land use planning and management, and modify such policies and legal measures where value added is expected;
• encourage community-based management actions and the development of alternative livelihood systems by building on indigenous knowledge to enhance productive capacity of land to sustainably protect indigenous crop varieties, medicinal and aromatic plans, water sources and other land resources;
• expand institutional capacity and human skills for sustainable management of MAP plants biodiversity and land resources through sustainable practices;
• persuade and facilitate reform of existing agro-biodiversity and land resources management policies, economic incentive frameworks and associated rules and regulations; and
• improve livelihoods’ sustaining capacity of the land, while generating benefits for the global environment and positively feeding back into environmental policy at all levels – local, national, regional and global.
This project’s mainstreaming of MAP plants biodiversity into agricultural production landscapes in Nigeria and integration of economic, social and environmental consideration will contribute to catalyzing the generation and widespread adoption of agricultural practices that deliver global environmental benefits in biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use in agricultural systems, reduced emissions of greenhouse gases from agricultural systems, reduced vulnerability of ecological systems to climate change, reduced land degradation and improved quality of international waters impacted by agricultural systems. The information generated in this project led to better management of natural and agricultural systems across production landscapes and sectors including mainstreaming of biodiversity, and political and administrative boundaries, hence promoting sustainable development.

The persistence of poverty, environmental problems and conflict in the Niger Delta in spite of enormous financial investment by government, oil companies and other donors necessitates a rethink of the framework for intervention in the region. The legacy of command and control principles in environmental governance has created suspicion, conflict and poor information flow between communities, non – governmental organizations, oil companies and governments who should normally be partners in the development of the Niger Delta. In this bellicose environment useful material and human resources are dissipated in the conflicts, political payments and poorly thought out projects.
In addition, the absence of a strong legal and policy framework, as well as enforcement capacity for natural resources management, poses a continuing threat to region’s biological diversity and to the traditional communities that depend upon natural resources for their livelihood. Changes in the areas ecology and society in the last three decades has led to a highly politicized atmosphere, resulting in a crisis of confidence between the oil industry, government, local communities and civil society.

In an effort to catalyze local and national stakeholder involvement in the preparatory process and ownership of the Project, BDCP was contracted to carry out this survey to identify related projects, programmes and initiatives with the aim of establishing the basis for collaboration and coordination between these initiatives and the GEF project, and, to the extent applicable, determine whether these initiatives should be considered as ‘baseline’ or ‘co-financing’ in relation to the project. The community stakeholder analysis and engagement baseline survey implemented by BDCP has a two-track process involving data collection and community mobilization. The major role of BDCP was to help the communities to develop their Biodiversity Action Plans that are linked to Oil & Gas their Biodiversity Action Plans.

BDCP was to through this survey;
• Determine community level involvement in protection and management of biodiversity in the Niger Delta;
• Device a model for enhancing community participation and capacity to engage in land-use planning in areas close to O&G sites;
• Identify pertinent local community level groups, institutions and entities that will be targeted to participate in training seminars (among local government agencies and resource management agencies, coastal communities, artisanal and commercial fishers) and description of how community monitoring groups could be organised and operate in a sustainable manner;
• Conduct community-level stakeholder analysis for mainstreaming biodiversity into Nigeria’s O&G sector, identifying capacity barriers and capacity building needs;
• Identify opportunities for public-private partnerships; and determine how communities participate in decision-making processes that affect biodiversity and in O&G industry processes;
• Understand how communities participate in decision-making processes that affect biodiversity in O&G industry processes;
• Organize stakeholder engagement fora in strategically located local communities around the Niger Delta;
• Conduct analysis on on-going environmental monitoring surveys/activities and determine the level of community involvement/participation;
• Describe the level and nature of community reliance on biodiversity of Delta region for livelihoods, spiritual/sacred purposes, and other “services” that the natural environment of the Delta provides to local communities; and
• Develop stakeholder participation and engagement plan for the formation of community monitoring groups

The Niger Delta regional survey began with a national stakeholder workshop where the new questionnaire was developed with major stakeholders from relevant agencies (GEF and BDCP). The survey questionnaire is designed to collect household data relevant in profiling the state of the environment in the Delta. The report will be useful in local, national and international development partners who have an idea of the political, socioeconomic and biophysical problems in the Niger Delta.

The Nigerian government initiated this project and has asked, through the Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv), NDDC and UNDP Nigeria, Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP) to coordinate the development and implementation of this project, to harmonize the framework for participatory programme implementation. The project will also build on the framework established by the MacArthur Foundation under its Niger Delta Initiative, from where this effort initially evolved, and a consensus established on project implementation.
The overall objective of this project was to conserve sustainable management of the wetlands and associated globally significant biological diversity of the Niger Delta region.

The project had the specific objectives to:
a) Strengthen planning and management capacity for improved land use and participatory conservation of biodiversity in the Niger Delta;
b) Develop options for sustainable natural resources management and integration of biodiversity conservation into both the production sectors (oil and gas) and the landscape (natural resource use);
c) Develop alternative livelihood demonstration projects to relieve direct pressure on biodiversity;
d) Develop and demonstrate more adaptive local land and water management practices to maximize the conservation of biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable resource use under fluctuating environmental conditions;
e) Review existing law, and policy on NRM, as well as enforcement capability, and promote a consultative process for environmental law reforms in the region;
f) Strengthen the generation and use of information for the adaptive management of the Niger Delta and improve the awareness of wetland conservation issues and biodiversity values among all sectors, including decision-makers, industry, NGOs, and the general public.

A few preliminary outputs of the project were:
i). Mainstreaming biodiversity into both the production sectors (oil and gas) and the landscape (natural resource use)
ii). Network of protected areas, existing areas will be supported, areas will be established or extended
iii). Developed management plan for listed Ramsar sites in Niger Delta and institution of a wetland policy.
iv). Water management- adaptive local land and water management practices
v). Enhanced capacity of governmental and non-governmental organisations
vi). Education and public awareness of wetland conservation issues and biodiversity values among all sectors, including decision-makers, industry, NGOs, and the general public
vii). Enhanced legal and regulatory base and enforcement capability
viii). Sustainable resource use through alternative livelihood demonstration projects to relieve direct pressure on biodiversity
ix). Research and monitoring- to generate knowledge and information on biodiversity as a basis for effective stakeholder participation in natural resource management, environmental justice and equity.

Restoration and the Conjunctive Sustainable Management of Native Mangroves and Nypa palms in the Cross River Estuary of Nigeria (UNIDO/BDCP)

General Background
UNIDO is implementing various transboundary international waters projects covering mostly Large Marine Ecosystems and River Basins in several regions of the world. The Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) Project is one of UNIDO’s portfolio of International Waters projects approved by GEF Council in November 2003 and the subsequent GEF CEO endorsement on 18 August 2004 of the full project proposal “Combating Living Resources depletion and Coastal Area Degradation in the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem through Ecosystem-based Regional Actions” for the sixteen (16) countries of the GCLME.

The project has a primary focus on the priority problems and issues identified by the sixteen GCLME countries that have led to unsustainable fisheries and use of other marine resources, as well as the degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems by human activities. The priority action areas include reversing coastal area degradation and living resources depletion, relying heavily on regional capacity building. In addition, the project focuses on nine demonstration projects (6 National and 3 regional) designed to be replicable and intended to demonstrate how concrete actions can lead to dramatic improvements. Among the 6 National demonstration projects are the “Restoration of native mangroves and the conjunctive sustainable management of native mangroves and Nypa palms in the Cross River Estuary of Nigeria.

In accordance with the Terms of Reference, BDCP assisted the Government of Nigeria to implement the activities to restore native mangroves and to control the Nypa palm infestation through utilizing Nypa products as proposed in the technical report “Nypa palm control and mangrove restoration in South-East Nigeria.


The specific objective is to develop and implement the restoration and conjunctive sustainable management of native mangroves and Nypa palms at selected sites in Oron, Akwa Ibom State in the Cross River Estuary of Nigeria which is to be sustained long after the project duration through carefully planned community buy-in, involvement and active participation. The participation of local communities is expected in the establishment of well tendered nurseries of preferred species of native mangroves (mainly Rhizophora sp., Avicennia sp., and Laguncularia sp), control of Nypa palms through sustainable utilization for food and non-food purposes, and the re-forestation of degraded mangrove ecosystem.

Project step 1: Identification of the best possible location/site for the management sites on the nameless large island opposite Oron.
Project step 2: The Delimitation and quantification of the nature and extent of depletion of native mangroves and consequent infestation by Nypa palm
Project Step 3: Establishment of a mangrove nursery
Project Step 4: Completely up-root the selected Nypa palm jungle and plant autochthon mangrove trees
Project Step 5: Cut in a neighboring plot of 0.5 ha only the Nypa leaves and flower stalks, plant autochthon mangroves (30,000/ha) and test use of the Nypa leaves for the different uses/products
Project step 6: Convert a plot of 0.5 ha of Nypa jungle neighbouring to the mangrove plantations into an “experimental Nypa plantation”
Project step7: Establish a “real Nypa plantation” neighbouring to the mangrove plantations in accordance with the Asian examples
Project step 8: Involve local communities in line with the Thailand experience to produce food products from Nypa palm
Project Step 9: Harvest seedlings from Nypa palms growing in the undisturbed Nypa jungle adjacent to the test plots.
Project Step 10: Demonstrate the use of ripe Nypa seeds to local communities and government stakeholders as high quality firewood.
Project Step 11: Create awareness among fishing communities in the Cross River Estuary and among government stakeholders on the necessity and long term benefits of establishing a sustainable mangrove harvesting pattern.
Project Step 12: Develop a mangrove/Nypa management plan, and establish user rights and self-monitoring processes by the community as well as monitoring process by local governments and provide a final progress report.


1. Sustainable Environmental Management;
2. Community Based Agro-forestry and Biotrade Development;
3. Establishment of Marine-Based Economic Development Rejuvenation Fund;
4. Sustainable Alternative Livelihoods for People Living In Coastal Areas of Selected Niger Delta States;
5. Green Ecosystem Transformations for Combating Living Resources Depletion And Reversing Coastal Area Degradation In The Niger Delta;
6. Restoration of Depleted Habitats And Sustainable Management of Biological Resources In The Niger Delta;
7. Shifting the Boundaries of Care: Moving From Acute Hospitals Into The Community;
8. Capacity Building;
9. Coupled Human-Environment System Vulnerability Studies Of The Niger Delta To Climate Change; and
10. Ocean Management

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