RSUST, conservationists map Niger Delta wetland ecosystem

Wetland PHOTO: Wikimedia

Wetland PHOTO: Wikimedia

A TEAM of researchers at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt, has concluded assessments on the role of wetland ecosystem services in supporting livelihoods in parts of the Niger Delta.

In a study sponsored by Wetlands International, provided operational structure of the five- step approach were including mapping of the concerned wetland ecosystems, assessment of the condition of the wetland ecosystems and quantification of the services provided by the wetland ecosystems in pilot sites.

Results of the study conducted by the Department of Applied and Environmental Biology at RSUST was validated at a recent scientific workshop held in the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt. The workshop held under the sponsorship of Wetlands International’s Sustainable Livelihoods and Biodiversity Project (SLBP) on the values people place on ecosystem services delivered by the various wetlands in pilot communities chosen to provide insight on the distribution and values of the Niger Delta wetland ecosystems.

t was also gathered that beyond validating findings from the study, the workshop which brought together several scientists across institutions in Nigeria and other African countries also focused on raising awareness among key stakeholders on the importance of the Niger Delta ecosystems to human well-being and economic prosperity.

Key speakers include Professor B. B Fakae Vice Chancellor, RSUST,  Dr. John Onwuteaka  also of RSUST who was the Principal Investigator, Prof. Stella Madueme, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Dr. Richard Mulwa – Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP), University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Speaking on the significance of the workshop, Logistics and Projects Associate, Wetland International, Elizabeth Odetola, disclosed that “through the study, reliable information is now available to assess the role of wetland ecosystem services in supporting livelihoods in parts of the Niger Delta, with specific emphasis on spatial and temporal dynamics of service provision, stakeholder linkages, and degree of access to service and possibility of improving livelihoods through wise use of resources.”

“There is now accessible information in assessing the role of wetland ecosystem services in supporting livelihoods in parts of the Niger Delta, with specific emphasis on spatial and temporal dynamics of service provision, stakeholder linkages, degree of access to services and possibility of improving livelihoods through wise use of resources.”

According to information made available at the workshop, the research which was conducted between February 2014 and April 2015 examined six ecosystem services associated with the communities identified from a listing and defined through both public and expert focus groups. These include Fish Nursery and Breeding, Forest Carbon Sequestration, Enhancing soil quality of stunted mangrove area, Water Quality Enhancement, Shoreline Protection and Erosion Control.

The workshop achieved a global feat it was also gathered, provided information on the use of satellite imagery in the differentiation of Nypa Palm from mangrove plants. “The information acquired from the imagery provides the opportunity to evaluate the “healthy state” capacity of the wetland ecosystems to deliver different ecosystem services in the Niger Delta. The health of the wetland ecosystem determines either a sustained flow of a variety of services or a maximum amount of one specific service.”

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