The Nigeria’s mangrove forests are known to be the third largest in Africa. The mangroves and associated mangrove species are used for charcoal, firewood, poles for building and flooring of houses, foundation piling, scaffolding, fishing stakes, etc by the locals. They also help to guard against coastline erosion, storm damage and wave action. They act as buffer and catch alluvial materials, thus stabilizing land elevation by sediment accretion that balances sediment loss.
In recent times, the mangrove forests have become highly degraded and depleted, thus, limiting the ability of the vegetation to fulfill it numerous functions. This vital resource has come under severe pressure from fishing and farming communities living in the coastal areas. The mangrove ecosystems are exposed to threats of destruction arising from urban development, coastal erosion and Nypa palm invasion. The displacement of the mangroves by Nypa palm, especially in Akwa Ibom State has been identified by various experts as a major threat to the mangrove ecosystem and an ecological disaster deserving urgent attention. Although, Nypa palms enjoys a competitive advantage in colonizing abandoned clearings in the mangrove swamps, various reports have suggested that the overexploitation of mangrove trees coupled with the extremely low utilization of Nypa palm is an anthropogenic factor responsible for the rapid Nypa palm spread in the Niger Delta area.
ACEARD is therefore working with the local communities toward reforestation of native mangrove on the Nigeria’s coastal areas. This initiative involves the establishment of nurseries and reforestation of the degraded mangrove. The communities around the mangrove areas are sensitize on possible uses of Nypa palm and their roles in sustainable forest management.