The Niger Delta wetland ecosystem: What threatens it and why should we protect it?
The Niger Delta wetland ecosystem is of high economic importance to the local dwellers and the nation in general. The region is rich in both aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and serves as a main source of livelihood for rural dwellers as well as stabilizing the ecosystem. Tremendous changes have occurred recently in the Niger Delta wetlands due to anthropogenic activities, thus raising awareness on the need for effective monitoring, protection and conservation of the wetland ecosystem. A good knowledge of the services provided by wetland ecosystems is an important key for an effective ecosystem management. The aim of this paper therefore was to review the importance of wetland resources, their threats and the need to protect them. This review shows that the region is rich in biodiversity of high economic importance to national development, and has been under severe threat from human activities, especially pollution. It is recommended that effective monitoring be employed using modern techniques such as GIS and remote sensing in the conservation and management of this important ecosystem.
Key words: Niger Delta, wetland, ecosystem.