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  • Vol. 1 Issue 3, pp: (43-55), July 2016. Available online at:


    Implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Approach in the Niger Delta,

    Nigeria: A Review

    A. S. Ringim1*, I. M. Sulaiman1, and J. V. Lyakurwa2

    1Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University Dutse, Jigawa, Nigeria.

    2Department of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

    *Corresponding author. Email:

    Received 11 May, 2016; Accepted 22 June, 2016.


    Coastal areas, a transition between land and sea, are among the most productive ecosystems in the

    world. The Niger Delta coastal area is rich in biodiversity and resources which supports over 30

    million people living in the region. More importantly, the economy of the country largely depends on

    oil and gas exploration from the region. However, over the last decades, inadequate management

    have caused severe environmental degradation, loss of aquatic biodiversity, habitat destruction,

    shoreline and coastal pollution within the region. In addition, with current projection of global climate

    change and sea level rise, the Niger Delta region is extremely under threat. In this paper, we review

    existing studies, highlights major threats affecting the Niger Delta, and propose a broader scientific

    approach through Integrated Coastal Zone Management for the long-term management and

    conservation of the Niger Delta. This process involves engaging with a wide range of stakeholders:

    governments, academicians, conservationists and policy- makers, non-governmental organizations,

    private investors and local communities in coastal management. The paper concludes that proper

    planning, integration and implementation of this process will serve to improve the overall situation of

    the Niger Delta communities, environment and biodiversity. Conservation of this ecosystem is in line

    with the Convention on Biological Diversity to which Nigeria is a signatory.

    Keywords: Coastal area, Conservation, Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Niger Delta, Stakeholders, Threats to biodiversity.


    Coastal areas are among the most productive

    and valued ecosystems in the world (Crain et

    al., 2009). For this reason, estimates have

    shown that about 3 billion people are found

    within 200 km of the coastline, with some 4

    billion living 400 km. This figure is projected to

    double by the year 2025 (Hinrichsen, 1999).

    The reasons for rapid population growth in the

    coastal areas include economic; industrial,

    International Research Journal of Environmental Sciences and Studies Article Number: PRJA15670421 Copyright 2016 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons

    Attribution 4.0 International License.

  • tourism, fishing and aquaculture, shipping,

    mining and energy production, and

    exploitation of coastal and marine resources

    e.g. mangroves (Hinrichsen, 1999; Akwilapo,

    2011). These have attracted more people with

    about 60 percent of the world population today

    are living along the coast (Vallega, 2013).

    Nonetheless, human pressures on the coastal

    region and its resources have made them one

    of the most degraded and threatened

    ecosystem (Crain et al., 2009).

    In the Niger Delta, dredging activities, urban

    and industrial pollution as well as

    overexploitation of natural resources have

    immensely continued to degrade the natural

    environment, biodiversity, and pose great

    health danger to human lives (Adeyemo,

    2003; Adekola and Mitcheel, 2011; Eleanya

    and Agbeja, 2014). Over the years, the

    Federal Government of Nigeria has set up

    institutions to checkmate the ecological and

    socio-economic problems affecting the delta

    coastal areas. Such institutions include the

    Niger Delta Development Commission

    (NDDC), Niger Delta Basin and Rural

    Development Authority, and the Oil and

    Mineral Producing Areas Development

    Commission (OMPADEC) (Uyigue and Agho,

    2007). In spite of this, threats facing the coast

    and biodiversity in the Niger Delta still persist.

    In recent times, there has been an extensive

    research study on environment and

    biodiversity in the Niger Delta. Some of these

    studies examined the effect of pollution on

    turtle diversity (Luiselli and Akani 2002),

    dredging activities in the delta region (Ohimain

    2004), biodiversity conservation and poverty

    alleviation in Niger Delta (Agbogidi and

    Ofuoku 2006), impacts of climate change and

    environmental degradation (Uyigue and Agho

    2007). Some conservation measures for

    managing the Niger Delta (Phil-Eze and Okoro

    2009), Environmental Impact Assessment for

    the Niger Delta (Ingelson and Nwapi 2009), oil

    exploitation and conflict (Omofonmwan

    and Odia 2009), threats to Niger Delta

    ecosystem (Patrick 2009; Adekola and

    Mitcheel 2011), impacts of mangrove forest

    exploitation on fisheries resources (Oribhabor

    and Udo 2011), sustainable fisheries

    development in the Niger Delta (Akankali and

    Jamabo 2011).

    Moreover, impacts of climate change on fish

    production in the Niger Delta (Aphunu and

    Nwabeze 2013), threats to forest ecosystem in

    the Niger Delta (Eleanya and Agbeja 2014),

    gas flaring (Giwa et al., 2014), impacts of

    wetlands degradation in the Niger Delta

    (Loveline 2015). However, previous studies

    predominantly focus on threats affecting the

    Niger Delta. On the other hand, ICZM process

    have shown to benefit local communities

    (Gibson, 2003), protection of coastal

    ecosystem (Hershman et al., 1999), and

    conflict resolution among coastal communities

    (McCreary et al., 2001). Therefore, this review

    aimed at providing a new paradigm for

    management and conservation of the Niger

    Delta coastal area, which if properly

    addressed will lead to an impressive result.


    Nigeria has a coastline of about 853 km

    located in the Atlantic Ocean, terrestrial zone

    is about 28, 000 km2, whereas the continental

    shelf is approximately 46, 300 km2 (Nwilo and

    Badejo, 2006). The southern Niger Delta is

    located within (051934N 062815E and

    5.32611N 6.47083E, Figure 1). This

    ecosystem extend over 70,000 km making up

    about 55% of Nigeria's freshwater systems,

    and is being recognized as the second largest

    delta in the world, and has the largest

    mangrove forest in Africa (UNDP, 2006;

    Uyigue and Agboh, 2007; Mmom and

    Arokoyo, 2009; Okonkwo et al., 2015). The

    region comprised several lagoons, wetlands,

    mangrove swamps, beaches, savannah, salt

    marshes, creeks, coastal and tropical

    rainforest rich in biodiversity (Phil-Eze and

    Okoro, 2009). The region is categorized into

    four ecological sub-zones; coastal barrier

    Islands, mangrove forest, freshwater swamp

    forest, and the lowland rainforest (Mmom and

    Arokoyu, 2009). The temperature in the region

    44 Int. Res. J. Environ. Sci. Stud.

  • is between 24C to 32C throughout the year,

    rainfall ranges from 3000- 4500 mm, with two

    distinct seasons: wet season starting from

    July- September, and dry season from

    December- February (Nwilo and Badejo,

    2006; Okonkwo et al., 2015).

    There are 119 species of mammal, 201 birds,

    30 reptiles, over 850 vulnerable tree species,

    and about 338 freshwater fish species in the

    Niger Delta region (Phil-Eze and Okoro, 2009;

    National Biodiversity and Strategy Action Plan,

    2014). The region harbour endemic species of

    animals such as Delta Killifish Aphyosemion

    deltaense and many endangered species

    such as the Home's hinge-back tortoise

    Kinixys homeana, and the West African Red

    Colubus Procolobus badius (Phil-Eze and

    Okoro, 2009; Adekola and Mitchell, 2011;

    NBSAP, 2014). Although, being the richest

    ecosystem in Nigeria, its vast areas have not

    been explored due to political and economic

    conflicts in the region.

    The people of the Niger Delta largely depend

    on coastal resources for food, fish, fibre, fuel,

    timber, charcoal, medicinal plants, aesthetic

    and tourism (Adekola and Mitchell, 2011;

    Malik et al., 2015). For instance, assessment

    of timber production in the delta region by the

    World Bank is about US$22.8 million, and the

    value of wetlands and other ecosystem

    services account for about US$14 trillion

    annually (World Bank, 1995; Eleanya and

    Agbeja, 2014). The Niger Delta comprises

    nine states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa,

    Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and River

    States with over 30 million inhabitants

    representing about 22% of Nigerias

    population (Patrick, 2009; Adekola and

    Mitchell, 2011). The oil and gas resources

    from the Niger Delta are the main source of

    financial income for Nigeria, accounting for

    about 90% of foreign exchange (NBSAP,

    2014). The World Wildlife Fun

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