Impact assessment and biodiversity considerations in Nigeria: A case study of Niger Delta University campus project on wildlife in Nun River Forest Reserve
Management of Environmental Quality
Biogeochem Associates Ltd., Port Harcourt, Nigeria; University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria; Biodiversity Unit, Institute of Pollution Studies, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Purpose - Niger Delta University (NDU) campus is located on the fringe of a Nun River Forest Reserve (NRFR) in Nigeria. The NRFR covers 97.15 km 2 of humid tropical rainforest characterized by torrential rains, seasonal flooding, and multi-layered vegetation. This paper aims to conduct a wildlife study, to assess the effects of the NDU campus project on NRFR. Design/methodology/approach - The assessment was preceded by "scoping" to determine key wildlife issues. Thereafter a mix of methods, including literature search, reconnaissance visits, field exercises, and interviews with hunters, was adopted to gather information. These were augmented with diurnal and nocturnal forest expeditions to find evidence(s) of wildlife species existence. Findings - There is a rich assemblage of wildlife species; of which 12 are enlisted in the 2006 IUCN Red List of threatened species, while 14 are protected by Nigeria's statutes; and they are threatened by human activities. The NDU campus project shall have significant adverse impacts on the wildlife: directly through habitat loss/fragmentation, nuisance, influx of people; and indirectly by exacerbating the existing threats. Research limitations/ implications - This work is limited to the NDU campus project and its impact on NRFR. The brevity of time spent in the field coupled with the generally inaccessible terrain and remote location of the NRFR constitute the limitations that must have influenced the findings in this paper. Originality/value - This paper reports the results of an original work, discusses the impacts of NDU campus on NRFR, and highlights conservation-friendly local beliefs/practices that could fit into a wildlife management plan, and fosters the debate on methodologies and field initiatives. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.