Sustainable Management of Mangrove Coastal Environments in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: Role of Remote Sensing and GIS
Keywords: Coastal Mangrove, Ecosystem Services, GIS and RS, Hyper spectral, Niger Delta Region, Sustainable Management
AbstractWetlands, which include the coastal mangroves, are amongst the Earth’s most productive ecosystems. They support millions of people and provide a wide range of direct and indirect goods and services or functions. Despite the wide range of important ecosystem goods and services provided by the wetlands they are under serious threat to extinction worldwide. Due to mainly: erratic and haphazard physical developments, externalities from users (e.g. agriculture, oil and gas industry. In Nigeria, 21,342 hectares of mangrove vegetation was reported to have been lost between 1986 and 2003 due to urbanization, dredging activities, and pollution from the oil and gas industries. Recognizing the continuous degradation of the region, mangrove (or wetland) goods and services must be given a quantitative value if their conservation is to be well appreciated. GIS and RS offer opportunities in accurate monitoring and assessment of environmental changes and effects taking place in the mangrove areas. It also helps to identify the driving forces of the environmental changes. GIS mapping will assist in assessing the spatial distribution and ecological change of the environment, identifying the baseline data of the region such as vegetation types and densities, the land use types. GIS and RS will complement many existing cases of wetland (including mangrove restoration developments) and provide government and all stakeholders involved in the development of the region with strategic framework for identifying and calculating projects and programs for the restoration of degraded mangroves and development of conservation action Plans for the sustainable management of Niger Delta mangroves.