What’s going on here?
Nigeria’s mangrove forests are threatened by oil spills and development projects, damaging these precious ecosystems and causing coastal erosion. The Niger Delta mangroves have been so depleted due to these activities that experts warn that without urgent action they will be lost entirely by the year 2050.
What does this mean?
Nigeria’s mangrove forests provide habitats for wildlife, support coastal fishing communities, and are a major natural solution to the impacts of climate change. Mangroves also provide shoreline protection, prevent erosions and storms, protect against coastline floods, and maintain water quality.
According to the research team at Internet Geography, Nigeria lost around 70km² of its mangrove forest between 2007 and 2016, which amounts to about 1%. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that, in total, Nigeria has lost approximately 400 sq. km of mangroves, making it the most affected country in West Africa. Oil and development activities are polluting the environment and destroying this important asset to the country.
Why should we care?
The destruction of mangrove forests is leading to environmental consequences such as the release of carbon into the atmosphere and coastal erosion, as well as many economic impacts.
These forests store large amounts of carbon making them crucial in the fight against climate change, and their depletion releases carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming. Mangroves also provide habitats for various species and protect against coastal erosion, and these benefits are being lost.
Nigeria needs to take immediate action to protect these forests and address the environmental crisis, as the consequences for the environment and society could be severe.
- Support and advocate for stricter regulations on oil and development projects.
- Report illegal felling of trees.
- Support the ‘TREE PLANTING INITIATIVE’.
- Read more about how to reduce your own personal carbon footprint.