Niger Delta Ecosystems: the ERA Handbook

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THE ERA HANDBOOK TO THE NIGER DELTA
(THE HUMAN ECOSYSTEMS OF THE NIGER DELTA)


Environmental Rights Action 1998


ERA GUIDE COVER DRAWING.png


Dedicated to Nnah Uabari, shot dead on the 25th
October 1993 near Shell Flow Station No. 5, Kokokoro,
Ogoni, Rivers State, Nigeria

CC-BY-SA icon.svg  ©1998 by Environmental Rights Action.
Niger Delta Ecosystems: the ERA Handbook, 1998
is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Licence
(international): http://creativecommons.org/licences/by-sa/3.0

 

THE ERA HANDBOOK TO THE NIGER DELTA
(THE HUMAN ECOSYSTEMS OF THE NIGER DELTA)

 

Dedicated to

NNAH UABARI

who was shot dead on the 25th October 1993
near Shell Flow Station No. 5,
Kokokoro, Ogoni, Rivers State, Nigeria

 

Written by Nick Ashton-Jones
Scientific editing by Susi Arnott
Advice by Oronto Douglas


With the Support of Friends of the Earth International and
the Netherlands Committee of the World Conservation Union (IUCN)


Environmental Rights Action 1998

1 PROLOGUE 5
1.1 The First Edition 5
1.2 Additional Information 5
1.3 Support and Assistance 5
1.4 The Maps 6
1.5 The Figures 21
2 INTRODUCTION 30
2.1 What is ERA? 30
2.2 The ERA Philosphy 30
2.3 ERA Knowledge is Based upon Participatory Research. 32
2.4 What is Participatory Research? 33
3 WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENT? 35
3.1 Defining Ecology and Environment in Terms of the Human Landscape 35
3.2 Analysing a Landscape 36
3.3 The Human Landscape: Economic Activity and Society 38
3.4 Landscapes are Alive 39
3.5 Ecosystems 40
3.6 Terms Used in the Descriptions of Ecosystems 41
3.7 Plants and Animals in Ecosystems 42
3.8 The Dynamics of Ecosystems and Viability 43
3.9 Real Ecology: Human Society 46
4 WHAT IS THE NIGER DELTA? 48
4.1 A Unique Ecosystem 48
4.2 Relief 49
4.3 Local Climate 50
4.4 Hydrology 50
4.5 Soils 51
4.6 Natural Vegetation 56
4.7 Natural Animal Communities 56
4.8 The Natural Ecosystem 57
5 THE NATURAL LOWLAND EQUATORIAL MONSOON (LEM) ECOZONE 60
5.1 Introduction 60
5.2 Tropical Rainforest: Definition and Classification 60
5.3 Correcting Some Misconceptions About the Rainforest 61
5.4 Distribution of the Natural Tropical Rainforest Biome 63
5.5 Micro-Climate of the LEM Rainforest 64
5.6 Physical Characteristics of the LEM Rainforest 67
5.7 Diversity of Tree Forms in the LEM Rainforest 69
5.8 Biodiversity of the LEM Rainforest 71
5.9 Plant Species of the LEM Rainforest 72
5.10 Animal Species of the LEM Rainforest 75
5.11 The Sub-Ecozones of the LEM Ecozone of the Niger Delta 77
6 THE NATURAL FRESHWATER ALLUVIAL EQUATORIAL MONSOON (FAM) ECOZONE 78
6.1 Introduction 78
6.2 The Complexity of the Natural FAM Ecosystems 78
6.3 Palms and Other Vegetation 80
6.4 Sub-Ecozones of the FAM Ecozone 81
6.5 Animal Communities of the FAM 85
7 THE NATURAL BRACKISH-WATER ALLUVIAL EQUATORIAL MONSOON (BAM) ECOZONE 88
7.1 Introduction 88
7.2 Mangrove Forests and their Distribution 88
7.3 Plant Species Composition of the Nigerian Mangroves 89
7.4 The Dynamics of Mangrove Ecology 91
7.5 Food Chains of the BAM Ecosystem 92
7.6 Animal Communities of the BAM Ecozone 93
7.7 The Brackish-water/Freshwater Ecozone 94
8 THE NATURAL SAND-BARRIER ISLANDS OF THE NIGER DELTA 96
8.1 The Formation of the Sand-Barrier Islands 96
8.2 The Balance Between Deposition and Erosion 97
8.3 The Natural Ecosystems 98
8.4 The Beach Strand Sub-Ecozones 99
8.5 Animal Communities of the Sand-Barrier Islands 100
9 THE NATURAL ESTUARIES & IN-SHORE WATERS OF THE NIGER DELTA 101
9.1 Introduction 101
9.2 Ecosystem Dynamics of the Estuaries and Inshore Waters 101
9.3 Plants and Animals of the Estuaries and Inshore Waters 102
10 PEOPLE AND RESOURCE-USE CONFLICT 105
10.1 Animal Populations and Ecosystems 105
10.2 Resource Cycles and People 105
10.3 The Ecological Problem of Modern Society 109
10.4 Resource-Use Conflicts 111
10.5 Is There an Easy Solution? 112
11 THE RESOURCES OF THE NIGER DELTA 105
11.1 Renewable and Non-renewable Resources 114
11.2 Land 115
11.3 Water 116
11.4 Fish 119
12 THE RESOURCES OF THE NIGER DELTA: FORESTS 123
12.1 The Nature of the Resource 123
12.2 Classification of the Forest Condition in the Niger Delta 123
12.3 Forest Resources by Ecozone 125
12.4 The Economic Problem of the Forest Resources 127
12.5 Economic Cost-Benefit Analyses of Forest Exploitation 128
13 THE RESOURCES OF THE NIGER DELTA: SOIL AND AGRICULTURE 130
13.1 Introduction 130
13.2 Agriculture in the LEM Ecozone 133
13.3 Agriculture in the Fresh-water Ecozone. 139
13.4 Agriculture in the Brackish-water Ecozone 142
13.5 Agriculture and the Barrier-Island Ecozone 143
13.6 A Summary of Agricultural Resources in the Niger Delta. 145
14 RESOURCES OF THE NIGER DELTA: MINERALS 146
14.1 Mining in the Niger Delta 146
14.2 Oil Mining in the Niger Delta: the Moral Issue 147
14.3 Oil Geology and Production 148
14.4 The National Importance of Oil In Nigeria 153
14.5 International Importance of Nigerian Oil 153
14.6 Natural Gas 154
14.7 Sand 157
14.8 Soil and Clay 158
14.9 Periwinkle Shells 158
14.10 Salt 158
15 THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE OIL INDUSTRY ON THE NIGER DELTA 159
15.1 The Nature of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 159
15.2 The Potential Adverse Environmental Impact of the Oil Industry 163
15.3 The Actual Adverse Environmental Impact of the Oil Industry 165
15.4 Common Impacts 171
15.5 Specific Impacts 177
15.6 The Economic Costs of Oil Production in the Niger Delta 186
16 THE HUMAN ECOSYSTEMS: INTRODUCTION 189
16.1 The Human Landscape 189
16.2 The Natural Ecozones of the Niger Delta 190
16.3 The Human Economic Impact 190
16.4 Society 193
16.5 The Resulting Human Landscape 196
17 THE HUMAN ECOSYSTEMS: THE BOTEM-TAI DISTRICT 198
17.1 Location 198
17.2 Topography 198
17.3 The Soils 199
17.4 The Natural Ecosystem 199
17.5 Natural and Viable Society 200
17.6 Modern Society 201
17.7 The Economy 202
17.8 The Environment as seen by Local People 205
17.9 Social and Political Status 206
17.10 Addendum: Shell in Ogoni 207
18 THE HUMAN ECOSYSTEMS: THE ANYAMA DISTRICT 209
18.1 Location 209
18.2 Topography 209
18.3 Soils 210
18.4 The Natural Ecosystems 210
18.5 Natural and Viable Society 211
18.6 Modern Society 212
18.7 The Economy 213
18.8 Anyama as Seen by Local People 213
18.9 Social and Political Status of Anyama 214
19 THE HUMAN ECOSYSTEMS: SANGANA IN AKASSA 215
19.1 Location 215
19.2 Topography of Akassa Island 215
19.3 Soils 216
19.4 The Natural Ecosystem 217
19.5 Natural and Viable Society 218
19.6 Modern Society 219
19.7 The Economy 220
19.8 Social and Political Status of Akassa 221
20 THE HUMAN ECOSYSTEMS: OKOROBA-NEMBE 222
20.1 Location 222
20.2 Topography 222
20.3 Soils 223
20.4 The Natural Ecosystems 224
20.5 Natural and Viable Society 225
20.6 Modern Society 227
20.7 The Economy of the Okoroba-Nembe District 228
20.8 The Environment as seen by Local People 229
20.9 Social and Political Status of Okoroba-Nembe 230
20.10 Addendum: Local People and the Oil Industry 231
21 THE HUMAN ECOSYSTEMS: PORT HARCOURT 239
21.1 Introduction 239
21.2 History 240
21.3 Modern Development 241
21.4 The Modern City - Trends and Future Development 242
21.5 Ecological Setting 243
21.6 The Survey Locations 244
21.7 The Residents 245
21.8 Cultural and Social Issues 245
21.9 Economic Issues 246
21.10 Social Infrastructure and the Urban Environment 247
21.11 Social Infrastructure and the Urban Environment - Housing 248
21.12 The Urban Environment 248
21.13 The Psychological Issues 250
21.14 Participation in Urban Management 250
21.15 The Impact of Port Harcourt on its Region 250
21.16 Conclusions 250
21.17 Appendix: Statements by Residents 252
  INDEX 255
  BIBLIOGRAPHY 265

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