Potential impact on biodiversity in Kwale's forest reserve by power plant establishments.
Nigeria has a rich variety of natural forest ranging from open vegetation and savanna forests of northern dry climate, to the tropical moist forest (TMF) of the south with riparian forest along the major rivers (Niger and Benue). Approximately eleven percent of the total land area of the country is covered by forest, comprising eighty percent savanna and twenty percent high forest . The rain forest belt, where Kwale forest can be found is remarkable in spite of its relatively small area; it contains more mammalian species than any other forest vegetation belt in Nigeria . This is attributed to its structural complexity, which allow for large number of niches and its ability to produce abundant food for inhabitants .
Generally, the ecosystem in Kwale forest is dominated by evergreen plants, tall shrubs which belong to several unrelated families that share common habitat preferences, physiognomy (that is the structural arrangement of the surface area of land and the vegetation cover), functional and structural adaptations. Vast area of this wetland is mostly affected by activities resulting from decisions, which either ignored the potential economic value of the resources or also placed a significantly higher value on the alternative land use. The current trend of uncontrolled resource exploitation has greatly fragmented and destroyed the natural rain forest ecosystem. Much of the rain forest in the eastern part of the country has been destroyed due to various activities of resource exploitation. Therefore, mammals adapted in the forest have coevolved with the system over the years and destruction or modifications of the forest have therefore profoundly threatened their continued existence .
The Niger Delta is one of the largest wetlands covering over 20,000 [km.sup.2] and Kwale forest constitutes a significant part of it. Most of the conservation areas at this zone are not gazetted like Kwale forest; therefore the ecozones have been fragmented by oil exploitation, industrial activities and other eco-development projects. This zone is one of the highest conservation priorities on the West Coast of Africa because it holds a larger number of threatened and endangered species, particularly mammals that are economically and scientifically valuable .
Developmental project often has an adverse impact on the environment, such as environmental pollution and degradation that are intensified by both human disturbances (anthropogenic activities) and natural occurrences (adverse climatic conditions) . Activities like road construction, mineral and natural resources exploitation, like oil and gas exploitation and unsustainable agricultural practices have affected the environment . In order to effectively protect, sustain and manage the environment, alongside development and advancement, the concept of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is necessary. "Environmental Impact Assessment can be defined as: The systematic process of evaluating the probable consequences of a proposed action during decision-making processes where serious environmental damage can be minimized or even avoided" . Many developmental activities such as damming of rivers, construction of dual carriage roads, and other human-economic activities have been carried out without proper EIA . The effects of these on wildlife species and other conservation areas cannot be over emphasized, the multiplier effect are mostly noticeable at the feeder streams or rivers flowing in and out the charnels that are blocked and the wetlands get dried up.
The project of Independent Power Plant (IPP) is a national development project that requires power generation of 450 MW (Megawatt) from the gas effluent of Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to the national electric grid. The recycling plant is located at Kwale forest, and this required extension of overhead electrical cable to Onitsha, which is about 52km away. However, the ecosystem and general natural inhabitants of the Kwale forest is bound to change in physiognomy, functional and structural adaptation. Such a vast forest area is mostly affected and flora/fauna resources indigenous to the area are not as adaptable as man, therefore an EIA study is required. As a tool for decision-making, the value of EIA will be realized if there is timely bridge in gap of communications between the individual conducting the assessment and those planning a proposed project, there by solved the problem of writing massive technical document .
STUDY AREA AND METHODOLOGY
Kwale forest situated in the old Bendel State, South eastern part of the present Delta state, and is one of the gazetted forest reserves in Nigeria since 1960's. It has land area of 3[km.sup.2] with seven adjoining communities namely: Okpai, Umu-Uzor, Ugbome, Nkwor, Amama, Asah and Opia. The major stakeholder to the forest reserve is Opai clan (Fig. 1, Map of the site). The topography is generally flat with depression; hence the area is characterized with wetland flood plain with terrestrial habitat submerged in most part of the year . The Independent Power Plant (IPP) of 450 megawatts required land area of 500[m.sup.2] of the Kwale forest, while the power line transmission for over-head electrical cable to Onitsha extends for 52km from the project site.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The present study is mainly an eco-development project, which is defined as an ecologically sound development strategy that emphasizes the need for harmonizing economic, social and environmental concerns in the process of development . This, therefore, requires on-the-spot assessment of the general environment, which includes the flora and fauna evaluation. Five transects of five kilometers each were established, with an expected segment of five meters width. At each reference point (5m interval), quadrants of 5[m.sup.2] were laid randomly to evaluate all plant species as described and identified . Both indirect and direct sampling methods were adopted for rapid assessment of fauna that is mammals and aves . This study covered both dry and wet season of the year 2003. The forest reserve was assessed by using preference index method :
D = (r - p)/r + p - 2rp
Where r is the proportional use of habitat by the species and p is the proportion of forest environment. The method took into consideration habitat use, condition, and information on the species abundance and utilization rate. Other information is obtained through structured questionnaire (administered by individual by knowledge 'Ik' model) to the inhabitants at the sites. The current price of wild animals (bush meats) was established, average number of each species were used to determine current market price.
Tasks carried out to obtain wildlife data were:
a) Reconnaissance survey of the study site (the first day). By establishing ten transect lines and transect survey of all wild species (to determine species status)
b) Wildlife Socio- Economic study: To determine human-wildlife conflicts, and also current market values of wild animals in that area through questionnaire administration.
The above were achieved through the following:
(i) Assessing the composition of flora and fauna diversities within the area;
(ii) Assessing the impact of forest activities in terms of the anthropogenic activities within the area.
(iii) Proffering mitigation measures (recommendations) towards the conservation of natural resources (wildlife) and establishment of IPP at the Forest ecosystem and the anthropogenic importance of the area to human inhabitants at the site.
The materials used are as follows: recording-ecological sheet, binoculars, Geographic Positioning System (GPS), forest guide (native of the area), measuring tape (500-1000m rule), camera and films, ecological map of the area.
The research work is purely based on impact of the proposed project on the wild fauna, thereby predicting likely environmental impact as well as effect on the species composition at the site, and evaluating their status and possible mitigation measure to the policy makers.
In total there are 47 mammalian species, 7 reptilians and 3 amphibians encountered. Every species and sub-species at the forest ecosystem were evaluated according to the classification by IUCN . Most of these species are threatened, endangered, vulnerable and extinct species (Table 1).
Species like bush back Tragelaphus scriptus, tree squirrel Funiscinrus pyrrhopus, patas monkey Cercopithecus patas, and tree hyrax Dendrohyrax arborea were populous and directly sighted (absolute density). While foot print (relative density) of species like leopard Panthera pardus, fox Vulpas palluda, forest otter Aonyx carpensis and genet cat Civerra civetta were prominent along the stream bank of river Niger closer to Beneku - water side settlement. The reptiles such as monitor lizard Veranus niloticus, tree pangolin Manis tricuspis and water moccasin Ancistrodon piscivoruos, were directly sighted.
Bird populations were characteristically distributed over the villages and farmlands (19 species), forest area (49 species), river bank and beaches (14 species) as shown in table 2. African Black kite Milvus migrans and pied hornbill Tochus nasutus are the most abundant, while carmelite sunbird Nectarina spp, long tail glossy starling Lamprotornis caudatus, slender billed bulbul Andropardus virens and abyssinian roller Coracias abyssinica were sighted in the forest and beaches. A rare bird species Abdim's stock Ciconia abdinni an intra-African migrant, were sighted during dry season, which indicated roosting period, because the species only migrate to northern part of the country indicating beginning of wet season.
The physiognomy of the natural high forest with component trees differentiated the site (Kwale forest) as tropical rainforest. Vegetation is endowed with highest stratum, the upper canopy composed of emergent trees such as: Treculia africana, Berlinia auriculata, Chrysophylium albidum and Cynometra megtalophylla. The prominent tree species are Landolphia oweriensis, Glyphaea brevis, Cynometra megalophylla, Ceiba pentandra and Irvingia gabonensis (Table 3). The under-storey layer was dominated by Napoloon vogelli, strychnos spinosa, Lindacleeria dentata and Diospyros species, and the climbers include Paulina pinnata and combretum smeathmannii. The species preferences for hunting by the people were primate (monkeys, baboon and galagos), giant rat, cane rat and other antelopes (bush buck, duikers).
The identified purpose of hunting apart from their utilization for medicinal purposes was for protein source such as bush meat. The market price of bush meats is not cheaper when compared with prices of conventional meats such as beef, pork, fish and chicken; despite this bush meat is still favored by the inhabitants. The percentage preference for hunting of primate, rodent, antelope and avifauna are 55%, 20%, 20%, 5%, respectively (Table 4); this indicated relishes of the bush-meat. The preference for consumption of meat indicated that bush meat is mostly preferred (33.5%) by the inhabitants, compared to other conventional sources such as beef, pork, fish, and chicken with 20.6%, 10.5%, 25.6% and 10.0%, respectively (Table 5).
Most of the species of flora and fauna in Kwale forest reserve and the Okpai ecosystem (transit pipeline to Onitsha) are classified as conservation-important species (threatened, endangered or rare) by the IUCN 1996 category. The extent of development that utilizes these natural resources (.that is eco-development) is determined by many economic, social and political factors, which are external to its primary need and objective .
The need of Kwale Forest Reserve for Independent Power Plant generation (IPP) may contribute significantly to the continuous loss of natural forest as well as stock of indigenous wildlife species in the wetland eco-zone. Most of the pscivorous bird species are specialized brooders, either using the area for breeding, incubating and for feeding on fruiting trees; mammals, on the other hand, are procreating on balanced rate of relationship (predator / prey relationship). Once this habitat is tampered with, they will find it extremely difficult to adapt and adjust to disturb environment because the wild animals are climax species. Nature has provided wildlife with certain forms of habitats . Due to this, wildlife is not as adaptable as man to new or disturbed environments. It can, however, be confirmed that land-use decisions will be highly influenced by economic criteria of this nature, and government decision on the position of natural resources (flora and fauna) given the public pattern of land use will be related to economics growth .
In conclusion, incompatible land uses are presently spreading into strongholds of wild animals and forest reserves; therefore the land use plans for the remaining land in the tropical region should assume a degree of compatibility between all the competing uses, such as wildlife, forest reserve, agriculture, oil exploitation and animal husbandry . Utilization of wild animals for bush-meats is an alternative source of protein for the people in the area, while numbers of economic trees and fruits bearing tree species are also in abundance in the reserve due to its secondary rainforest nature and thicket of secondary plant succession. Eighty percent of the people in southern Nigeria depended on bush meat as source of protein . Destruction of this natural habitat will render specialized species homeless thus endangering them or causing them to migrate. To the people in rural area, wild animals are so vital for food, medicine, traditional and cultural uses that adequate consideration must be given to maintain natural habitat when planning for rural development projects (ecodevelopment) .
Developmental projects in Nigeria are proposed and executed on a daily basis; many of these projects involve large-scale vegetation cover removal and ecosystem damage. Many of these projects did not have proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies before implementation. The exploitation of both renewable and non renewable resources over the past decades has created problems in the environment, which has further adversely affected the socio-economic development of the nation.
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Lameed GA (1) *
* Corresponding author email: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com
(1) Senior Lecturer, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. Nigeria
Table 1: Wildlife species population structure in study location of Kwale Forest Reserve CLASS ORDER FAMILY COMMON NAME ORDER MAMMALIA Carnivora Viverridae March mongoose African Civet Felidae Forest Gene Mustelidae Palm civet Serval Leopard Cape Clawless Otter Carnivora Carnidae Fox Mustelidae Spotted necked otter Warthog Artiodactyla Red River--hog Suidae Hippopotamu Hippopotamus Bovidae African buffalo Sitatunga Blue duker Kob, Bushbuck Primate Galagidae Dwarf Galago Cercopithedidae Mona monkey Pata monkey White-nose monkey Rodentia Sciuridae Redless Tree- Squirrle Giant forest- Cricetidae Squirrel Gambian Giant-rat. Cane rat Muridae Black rat Shaggy rat Swamp rat Striped mouse Insectivora Soricidae Nigerian Musk shew Hyracoidea Procavidae Black Giant shrew Pholidota Manidae Western Tree-hyrax Long-tailed/Tree Pangolin REPTILIA Reptila Nile croccodilus Monitor lizard Water moccasin Rock python Green mamba Black cobra Hingeback CLASS SCIENTIFIC NAME CONSERVATION MODE OF POPULATION ORDER STATUS IDENTIFICATION NUMBER MAMMALIA Atilax paludinosus T F 1 Vivvera civetta E F 2 Genetta poensis T F.A 1 Nandinia biotata T I -- Felis serval E I -- Panthera pardus E I.F 1 Aonyx capensis E I -- Vulpes palluda T A 2 Lutra maculicolis T F 1 Phaecechoerus F.A 15 aethiopicus Potamocherus F.A 10 porcus Hippoppotamus amphibious T A.I 1 Syncerus caffer Tragelaphus spekei. Cephalophus T I -- monticola Kobus kob E I -- Tragelaphus T F 6 scriptus T F 4 T F.A. 9 Galagoides E S 1. demidovii Cercopithecus mona E C 2. Erythrocebus patas T C 3 Cercopithecus E C 5 nicititans Rodentia Funisciurus T A.C. 5 anerythrus A.C. 5 Protexerus T S.I. 8 stangeri T S.I. 3 Cricetomys gambianus Thryonomys T I.A. 1 swinderianus Rattus rattus T I -- Dasymys incomtus T D.I. 4 Malacomys Edwards E I. -- Hybomys vittatus T Crocidura V I -- insitania Crocidura odorata V I -- Dendrohyrax T C. 11 Dorsalis Manis tricuspis E S. 2 REPTILIA Croccodilus T I.A. 1 niloticus Veranus niloticus T S 1 T S 1 Python sebae E I -- Dendrospis viridis T I -- T A 1 Kinixys erosa T I -- Key: F = footprint; C = Call, S = Direct sighting, D = Droppings, A = Activity sites, I = Information (interview) Threatened = T, Endangered = E, Vulnerable = V, Extinct = Ex Table 2: Distribution of avifauna at the study locations Table 2A. Aves (birds) in the Kwale/Okpai localities COMMON NAMES SCIENTIFIC NAME 1. African Black kite Milvus migrans 2. Stand Night jar Macrodipteryx longipemix 3. Black-belied Coucal Centropus grillii. 4. Little African Swift Apus affinis 5. Yellow fronted canary Sevinus mozambicus 6. Yellow wagtail Motocilla flava 7. Collard sunbird Nectarinia cuprea 8. Pintailed Whydah Vidua macroura 9. Bronze Mannikin Lunchura cucullata 10. Senegal coucal Centropus senegalensis 11. Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria 12. Laughing Dove Prinia subflava 13. West African Thrush Corvus albus 14. West African Prinia Pycronotus barbatus 15. African Pied crow Merops albecollis 16. Common bulbul Erycronotus barbatus 17. White throated Bee-eater Merops albecollis 18. Broad Bill Roller Erystomus glancurus 19. Village Weaver Bird Placeus cucullatus Table 2: Distribution of avifauna at the study locations Table 2B. Aves (birds) in the River Niger Banks, Beaches COMMON NAMES SCIENTIFIC NAME 1. Abdim's Stock Ciconia abdimii 2. West African rive Eagle Haliaetus vocifera 3. Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis 4. Swam Palm bulbul Thescelecichla leacoplearms 5. Pygmy kingfisher Ceyx Picta 6. Common vulture Neophron monachus 7. Whistling Teal Dendrocygna viduata 8. Splendid sunbird Nectarina coccinigaster 9. Great White Egret Ardeola ibis 10. Hammerkop Scopus umbrella 11. Little African Swift Apus affinis 12. White-Ruped Swift Apus caffer 13. African Sand Martin Riparia pahidicola 14. African Black Kite Milvus migrans Table 2: Distribution of avifauna at the study locations Table 2C. Aves (birds) in the project site and forest areas (page 17-19) COMMON NAMES SCIENTIFIC NAMES 1. Vinaceous Dove Streptopelia vinacea 2. Laughing Dove Steptopelia senegalensis 3. Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria 4. West African Touraco Touraco pera 5. Violet Plaintain--eater Musophaga violacea 6. Little Sparrow Hawk Accipiter erythropus 7. West African Gooshawk Accipitertoussenelli 8. Palmnut Eagle Gypohierax angolensis 9. Abdim's Stock Ciconia abdimii 10. WhistlingTeal Dendroygna viduata 11. African Golden Oriole Iriolus awratus 12. Black headed Oriole Oriolus branchrhynchus 13. Glossy backed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis 14. Common Garden Bulbul Pyconotus barbatus 15. Swamp Palm Bulbul Thescelocichla leucopleurus 16. West African Thrush Turdus pelius 17. African Pied crow Carvus albus 18. Senegal wood Hoope Phoeniculus chrysocomus 19. Pired King fisher Ceryle radis 20. Senegal king fisher Halcyon senegalensis 21. Broad billed Roller Erystomus glaucurus 22. Cardinal Wood Peker Dendropicus fuscescens 23. Piping Hornbill Bycanisters fistulator 24. Splendid glossy Starling Lamprotonis splendilus 25. Mosque Swallow Hirundo senegalensis 26. White throated bee-eater Merops albecollis 27. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 28. Senegal coucal Centropus senegalensis 29. Black bellied coucal Centropus grilli 30. Levaillent's Cuckoo Clamator glandaius 31. African Barn Owl Tylo alba 32. Wood Owl Ciccaba woodfordi 33. Standard night jar Macrodipteryx longipennis 34. Little African Swift Apus affinis 35. White Rumped Swift Cypsiurus parous 36. Ahanta Francolin Francolinus ahentensis 37. Crested malimbe Malimbus malimbus 38. Red vented malimbe Malimbus scutatus 39. Allied Hornbill Tockus semifascialus 40. Yellow-fronted canary Serinus mozambicus 41. Green fruit Pigeon Treron australis 42. Grey Parrot Psittacus erythacus 43. Naked face Barber Gymnobucci calvus 44. Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus chrysocomus 45. Carmelite Sunbird Nectarinia coccinigaster 46. Long tailed glossy starling Nectarinia cupreea 47. Abyssinian roller Coracias abyssinica. Table 3: Flora species frequency and occurrence at IPP site (Secondary Rainforest) Serial Species Life Remarks as on site No. Form 1. Acanthus montanus Herb Threatened (Th.) 2. Adenia lobata Herb Th 3. Aframomum daniellia Herb Th. 4. Aframosia alata Herb Th. 5. Alchomea cordifolia Shrub Th. 6. A. laxiflora Shrub Th. 7. Allophyllus africanus Herb Th. 8. Anthocleisia nobilis Tree R. 9. Anthonothat macrophylla Tree Th. 10. Baphia ninda Tree Dominant 11. Bermia grandiflora Tree Th. 12. Bridelia micrantha Tree R 13. Calamus derratus Shrub D. 14. Carpolobia lutea Shrub Th. 15. Chromolacna odorata Herb Th. 16. Cissus polyantha Shrub Th. 17. Cleistopholis pattens Tree Th. 18. Combreum zenkeri Shrub Th. 19. Commelina benghalensis Herb Th. 20. Cosnis afer Herb R. 21. Digitaria debilis Herb Th. 22. Dimorphochlamys mannii Herb Th. 23. Dossotis rotundifolia Herb Th. 24. Elaeis guineensis Tree D. 25. E vogeli Tree Th. 26. Harungana madagascariensis Shrub Th. 27. Leptoderris branchyptera Herb Th. 28. Macaranga barteri Herb Th. 29. Manihot esculenta Shrub Th. 30. Marantochloa cuspidate Climber Th. 31. Napoleona vogelii Tree D. 32. Nauclea latifolia Tree R. 33. Olax subscorptoides Climber Th. 34. Oxyanthus tuboflorus Shrub Th. 35. Paulina pinata Shrub D. 36. Phyilanthus discoideus Herb Th. 37. Picralima nitida Herb Th. 38. Psidium guajava Tree Th. 39. Pterocarpus santhozyloides Tree Th. 40. Pycnanthus anagolensis Shrub Th. 41. Scleria racemosa Tree Th. 42. Smilax kraussiana Climber Th. 43. Tabernaemontana pachysiphon Tree Th. 44. Triumfetta cordifolia Tree Th. 45. Vitex paradoxa Tree R. 46. Xylopia aethiopica Tree Th. Table 4: Wildlife species percentage preference for hunting at the site Species Percentage (%) Rodents (Cane rat, giant rat, squirrel 55% Artiodactyla (bush buck, duiker) 20% Primate (Patas monkey, Baboon, Galagos) 20% Aves (birds) 5% Table 5: Meats price rate per kilogram and percentage preference rate Meat Source Price rate in % (PPR) Naira (N)/kilo Beef 430 20.6 Pork 400 10.5 Fish 300 25.6 Chicken 550 10.0 Bush meat 850 33.5 N: Naira, currency value in Nigeria. PPR : Percentage Preference Rates
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|Publication:||African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2009|
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