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Analysis of mangrove forest resources in Nigeria for state specific restoration policy

A.O. Olaniyi


Globally, mangrove forest covers approximately 84,000km2 in 105 countries. In Nigeria, mangrove forest cover an area of 10,500km2 making it the largest in Africa and the third largest in the World. Mangrove is important as a source of construction, energy and industrial raw materials as well as ecosystem services. Despite these benefits,, there have been large scale degradation of the mangrove forests across the globe. Mangrove forest resources in Nigeria were analyzed for the dynamics in aerial extent with the aim of providing scientific evidence for the adoption of state specific restoration policies. Spatial datasets of national and sub national mangrove forest were disaggregated from the global mangrove forest datasets using Spatial Analysis module in ArcGIS 10.6. Results of the analysis showed that in 1996; Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states had the largest mangrove forest resources (40.94%; 25.30 % and 25.12%) while, Lagos, Ondo and Edo had the least (0.46%, 0.37% and 0.28%) respectively. However by the year 2016; Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta had 40.76%; 25.37% and 25.22%. Whereas Lagos, Edo and Ondo had 0.44%, 0.28% and 0.26% respectively. Between 1996 and 2016, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states have lost 8,274 ha 4,824 ha and 2,281 ha of their mangrove forests at the rates of 413.7; 241.2 and 114.1 ha/annum respectively. The variation in the annual rate of loss in mangrove per state gave indications for the need of state specific mangrove restoration and protection policies at sub national levels.