DIVERSITY OF MANGROVE VEGETATION OF AKWA IBOM STATE COASTAL ECOSYSTEM.
1.1 Background of Study
Mangroves are defined as assemblages of salt-tolerant trees and shrubs that grow in the intertidal regions of the tropical and subtropical coastlines (Brandon 2012). Mangroves are survived with their roots submerged in water, mangrove trees thrive in hot, muddy, salty conditions that would quickly kill most plants. Mangrove forests are the world’s most productive ecosystems. They enrich coastal waters, yield commercial forest products, protect coastlines, and support coastal fisheries. However, mangroves exist under conditions of high salinity, extreme tides, strong winds, high temperatures, and muddy, anaerobic soils. There may be no other group of plants with such highly developed morphological, biological, ecological, and physiological adaptations to extreme conditions (Kathiresanet. al 2001).
Mangrove forests are found worldwide between latitude 300South and 300 north in the tropical and subtropical regions (Kathiresanet. al 2001).
They normally grow poorly in stagnant waters and have abundant growth in the alluvial soil substrates with fine‐textured loose mud or silt, rich in humus and sulfides. They can also be found in substrates other than muddy soil such as coastal reefs and oceanic islands. In such areas, the mangrove plants grow on peat, which is derived from decayed vegetation (Kathiresan 2000). They find it difficult to colonize the coastal zone with waves of high energy and hence they normally establish themselves in sheltered shorelines (Kathiresan and Bingham, 2001).
In Nigeria, mangrove covers an estimated area of 10,515km2; the estimate is based on the survey by Zabbey (Zabbey, 2008). Nigeria’s mangrove, in terms of the area covered, is the largest in Africa and the fourth largest in the world; the largest being Indonesia, Brazil, Australia, Nigeria (Nandy and Mitra, 2004). The mangrove forests have been shown to sustain more than 70 direct human activities, ranging from fuel‐wood collection to fisheries (Dixon, 1989; Lucy, 2006). Also as recorded by Zabbeyet al, 2010 Mangroves provide various ecological goods and services directly for humankind, and indirectly through the supporting roles mangrove forests play in maintaining other productive systems in the seascape. The estimated economic value of mangrove forests to the local community is in the range of $27,264 - $35,921 per hectare (Sathirathai and Barbiar, 2001). This estimate includes the value of direct use of wood and other resources collected from mangroves as well as additional external benefits in terms of off-shore fishery linkages and coastline protection. The mangrove forests are known to serve various socio-economic and ecological functions especially in the coastal communities. For instance, they provide breeding grounds for fish species and provide numerous non-wood products that contribute to rural livelihoods. Due to man’s need an explosion in the population, mangroves have suffered much pressure in the recent past with enormous losses through man’s activities directly or indirectly in the marine environment, mangrove swamps and flood plain, which gives rise to The loss, destruction, and degradation of the mangrove forests have been attributed to many factors including urbanization, quarrying, salt and sand extraction; pollution from industries, agro-industrial chemicals, petroleum and gas exploitation; absence of appropriate legislation; deforestation for fish smoking (Ajonina and Usongo, 2001; Ajoninaet al, 2005). Therefore, this research work is meant to access and determine the distribution of the survival of mangrove from the above-mentioned stressors and to suggest possible mitigation process that can revive the exploited mangrove forest.
1.2 Significant of study
The mangrove forests are known to serve various socio-economic and ecological functions especially in the coastal communities. For instance, they provide breeding grounds for fish species and provide numerous non-wood products that contribute to rural livelihoods through improving fishery resources added to the standing the stock of the state’s fisheries and economy. This can only be certain if the distribution of mangrove is determined, of which this project work is aimed at.
1.3 Scope of work
This project work is limited only to Iko coastal environment.
1.4 Aim and Objectives
This work is aimed at accessing the distribution of mangrove in Iko coastal environment.
To determine the physicochemical parameters influencing the environment,
To determine the distribution pattern of mangrove species and their abundance in Iko coastal environment,
To access the environmental effects of mangrove and the possible potential application of mangrove..