Oil and Gas Pipeline Construction-Induced Forest Fragmentation and Biodiversity Loss in the Niger Delta, Nigeria


The impacts of oil and gas pipeline construction on the forest and biodiversity in parts of the Niger Delta was investigated. This was achieved by studying the construction activities and operational phases of two pipelines with cumulative length of 165 km vis-à-vis the biodiversity of the affected area. The study involved field sampling along the RoWs to inventorize the fauna and flora, visual assessments and interview with locals. It was observed that the pipelines traversed moist lowland/freshwater swamp and mangrove forests, and barrier islands with approximately 4,950,000 m2 (equivalent of 495 hectares) of forest cleared and 9,642,000 trees killed to realize the pipelines. A total of 219 plant species in 66 families and 125 different fauna species from 64 families were recorded in these areas. Three out of the 4 recorded species of Meliaceae were threatened based on IUCN Conservation Status. Also based on IUCN Conservation Status, 20 mammals, including Pan troglodytes, Cercopithecus erythrogaster and Trichechus senegalensis, 7 birds, 2 reptiles and 1 amphibian were within threatened group. The results showed that the study area had witnessed colossal loss of biodiversity due to habitat displacement, forest fragmentation and deforestation, and escalated exploitation of species. The study identified the most affected biodiversity, and proffered measures to mitigate such occurrences.

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Agbagwa, I. and Ndukwu, B. (2014) Oil and Gas Pipeline Construction-Induced Forest Fragmentation and Biodiversity Loss in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Natural Resources, 5, 698-718. doi: 10.4236/nr.2014.512061.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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