Nigeria Biodiversity and the Built Environment

todayMarch 18, 2024


Did you know that Nigeria is home to over 5,000 species of plants, 22,090 species of animals, and 889 species of birds? From African elephants to yellow-casqued hornbills, Nigeria boasts an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. However, this rich biodiversity faces numerous threats due to human activities such as logging, farming, and poaching.

Key Takeaways

  • Biodiversity in Nigeria is vast, with thousands of plant and animal species.
  • Human activities like logging, farming, and poaching pose significant threats to Nigeria’s biodiversity.
  • Preserving Nigeria’s biodiversity is crucial to maintaining ecological balance and ensuring a sustainable future.
  • Sustainable practices, conservation efforts, and effective governance are essential for safeguarding Nigeria’s natural heritage.
  • Education and awareness play a vital role in promoting biodiversity preservation and sustainable development.

The Importance of Conservation Efforts in Nigeria

Conservation efforts in Nigeria are of utmost importance in preserving the country’s rich biodiversity. Organizations such as the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) play a vital role in wildlife preservation and environmental sustainability. The NCF has taken significant steps to protect endangered species and their habitats, particularly through the establishment of the Omo Forest Reserve as a designated conservation zone.

Within the Omo Forest Reserve, the NCF focuses on safeguarding the diverse ecosystem and the welfare of endangered species, such as the forest elephants. Former hunters have been employed as forest rangers, ensuring effective monitoring of potential threats like deforestation and poaching. These remarkable efforts not only protect the endangered species but also raise awareness among local communities and stakeholders about the importance of conserving Nigeria’s natural resources.

In collaboration with other partners, the NCF has implemented various initiatives to promote sustainable practices and foster natural resources sustainability in Nigeria. By engaging with local communities and stakeholders, they create a sense of ownership and empower individuals to actively participate in wildlife preservation.

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation believes that a harmonious coexistence between humans and nature is not only essential for biodiversity preservation but also for the sustainable development of the country. Through our conservation efforts, we strive to protect Nigeria’s natural heritage and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

Key Policies and Governance Approaches for Biodiversity Conservation

Nigeria is committed to the conservation of its rich biodiversity through a range of policies and governance approaches. These initiatives aim to address the various threats to biodiversity and ensure the long-term preservation of Nigeria’s natural heritage.

One notable policy is the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which outlines a comprehensive framework for biodiversity conservation and management. This plan identifies key priority areas, sets conservation targets, and establishes measures to mitigate threats to biodiversity. By implementing this strategy, Nigeria aims to safeguard its diverse flora and fauna for future generations.

biodiversity conservation Nigeria

In addition to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Nigeria has also launched a National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime. This strategy focuses on evidence-based approaches and international best practices to tackle wildlife and forest-related crimes, such as poaching and illegal logging. By strengthening law enforcement, promoting awareness, and collaborating with international partners, Nigeria aims to combat these crimes and protect its unique wildlife and critical forest habitats.

“Effective conservation requires a multi-faceted approach, involving not just policies, but also strong governance and international collaboration. Nigeria’s commitment to combating wildlife and forest crime is a positive step towards protecting our invaluable natural resources.” – Dr. Lawal G. Ndam, Wildlife Conservationist

Furthermore, Nigeria is taking measures to address the illegal timber trade, which poses a significant threat to its forests. The country is enforcing a ban on illegal timber trade, promoting sustainable forestry practices, and collaborating with international organizations to prevent the exploitation of forest resources. These efforts aim to safeguard Nigeria’s forests and ensure the sustainable use of timber resources.

“By addressing the illegal timber trade, Nigeria is not only protecting its forests but also supporting the livelihoods of communities dependent on these resources. Sustainable forestry practices are crucial for maintaining a balance between economic development and biodiversity conservation.” – Amina Mohammed, Environmental Activist

Moreover, Nigeria has implemented biodiversity-related legislations to provide legal protection for wildlife and critical habitats. These legislations include the Endangered Species Act, Forest Reserve Act, and Wildlife Conservation Act, among others. Through these laws, Nigeria aims to create a legal framework that safeguards biodiversity, regulates human activities, and promotes sustainable practices.

Biodiversity-related legislations in Nigeria Objective
Endangered Species Act To protect and conserve endangered species
Forest Reserve Act To establish and manage forest reserves for conservation
Wildlife Conservation Act To regulate the hunting, trade, and conservation of wildlife

These policies and governance approaches demonstrate Nigeria’s commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. By implementing these measures, Nigeria aims to strike a balance between economic growth and the preservation of its unique natural heritage.

Successes and Challenges in Biodiversity Conservation

Nigeria has made significant progress in biodiversity conservation through international collaborations, policies, and conservation initiatives. These efforts have resulted in notable conservation achievements that have helped protect and preserve the country’s diverse ecosystems.

One of the successes in biodiversity conservation in Nigeria is the establishment of national parks and reserves, which serve as protected areas for various species. These conservation areas have contributed to the recovery of endangered species and the preservation of critical habitats.

“Conservation is a race against time. Every minute counts in the fight to save endangered species and fragile ecosystems. Nigeria has shown commendable commitment in this endeavor and has achieved significant milestones in biodiversity conservation.”

However, despite these successes, challenges in biodiversity conservation persist. One major challenge is law enforcement, particularly in combating illegal activities such as poaching, logging, and wildlife trafficking. Strengthening law enforcement is crucial to deter and address these threats effectively.

Another challenge is the lack of institutional coordination among various stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation efforts. Improved coordination between government agencies, NGOs, and local communities is essential to enhance the effectiveness of conservation initiatives.

Furthermore, there is a need to raise public awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation in Nigeria. By educating and engaging the public, individuals can actively contribute to the preservation of their natural heritage.

“Building a sustainable future depends on the collective efforts of all Nigerians. It is through increased awareness and active participation that we can overcome the challenges and ensure the long-term preservation of our rich biodiversity.”

Addressing these challenges requires collaborative actions and sustained commitment from all stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation. By strengthening law enforcement, promoting institutional coordination, and increasing public awareness, Nigeria can overcome these obstacles and continue its journey towards a more sustainable and biodiverse future.

challenges biodiversity conservation Nigeria

Threats to Nigeria’s Biodiversity

Nigeria’s biodiversity is under significant threats that jeopardize the survival of its rich flora and fauna. The main threats include deforestation, resource overexploitation, and the impact of climate change. These factors pose severe challenges to the preservation and sustainability of Nigeria’s diverse ecosystems.

Deforestation in Nigeria

Deforestation is a major contributor to biodiversity loss in Nigeria. The expansion of agricultural activities and infrastructure development leads to the clearing of forests, resulting in habitat destruction. This indiscriminate clearing of forests for farming and urbanization contributes to the loss of vital habitats for various plant and animal species. It disrupts the delicate balance of ecosystems, leading to a decline in biodiversity.

Resource Overexploitation

The overexploitation of natural resources has a detrimental impact on Nigeria’s biodiversity. Unsustainable agricultural practices, including excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, degrade the soil and pollute water bodies. Additionally, the unsustainable harvesting of timber, minerals, and other natural resources contributes to the destruction of habitats and the loss of species diversity. This exploitation poses a significant threat to the delicate ecosystems that support Nigeria’s biodiversity.

Climate Change

The impact of climate change exacerbates the threats to Nigeria’s biodiversity. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events disrupt ecosystems and affect the distribution and behavior of plant and animal species. This leads to shifts in habitat suitability, migration patterns, and potential species extinction. Nigeria’s diverse flora and fauna are particularly vulnerable to these changes, further amplifying the risks to biodiversity conservation.

To address these threats, urgent action is needed. Sustainable practices, such as reforestation initiatives, responsible resource management, and the promotion of climate-smart agriculture, are crucial in mitigating the damaging effects on biodiversity. Additionally, raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation and incorporating it into policy frameworks are essential steps towards ensuring the long-term survival of Nigeria’s rich natural heritage.

Threats Impact on Biodiversity
Deforestation Habitat loss, disruption of ecosystems, loss of species diversity
Resource Overexploitation Destruction of habitats, decline in species diversity, pollution
Climate Change Shifts in habitats, species extinction, disruption of ecosystems

biodiversity threats Nigeria

“The disappearance of a species is just one aspect of a much larger chain reaction. When one species goes extinct, it affects multiple facets of the ecosystem and disrupts the delicate balance of biodiversity.” – David Attenborough

Determinant Factors for Sustainable Development in Nigeria

Achieving sustainable development in Nigeria is challenging due to various factors that shape the country’s development landscape. These factors include:

  1. Population growth: Nigeria’s rapidly growing population puts pressure on resources and infrastructure, making sustainable development a complex task.
  2. Infrastructure development needs: The demand for improved infrastructure, such as transportation, energy, and healthcare facilities, is essential for economic growth but requires careful planning to ensure sustainability.
  3. Poverty reduction efforts: Poverty remains a significant challenge in Nigeria, and efforts to uplift communities while maintaining environmental sustainability must go hand in hand for long-term development.
  4. Environmental sustainability: Balancing economic growth with environmental conservation is crucial to ensuring a sustainable future. Promoting sustainable practices, minimizing pollution, and preserving natural resources are essential considerations.

These factors directly impact the delicate balance between development and biodiversity conservation in Nigeria. To achieve sustainable development, stakeholders must be actively involved in shaping policies and practices that prioritize environmental sustainability. Adequate funding, robust policy frameworks, and effective infrastructure planning are vital components that contribute to the success of sustainable development initiatives in Nigeria.

The fight against corruption is another critical factor in sustaining sustainable development. Corruption erodes trust, diverts resources intended for development, and undermines environmental conservation efforts. Promoting transparency and accountability is essential to ensure the effective implementation of sustainable development projects.

By prioritizing sustainable development, Nigeria can create a future that balances economic prosperity, social well-being, and environmental sustainability.

sustainable development Nigeria

The Value of Biodiversity to Nigerians

Biodiversity plays a vital role in Nigeria, offering immense value across various sectors, benefiting the country’s economy, environment, and people. Let’s explore some key areas where biodiversity makes a significant impact:


Biodiversity is essential for agriculture in Nigeria, providing the foundation for crop pollination, soil fertility, and pest control. Diverse plant species contribute to the sustainable production of food and the development of new crop varieties. The conservation of plant genetic resources ensures the resilience of agricultural systems.

Ecological Services

Healthy ecosystems provide vital ecological services that sustain life in Nigeria. Forests regulate water flow, prevent soil erosion, and maintain the climate. Wetlands act as natural filters, improving water quality and mitigating floods. Mangroves protect coastal areas from erosion and provide habitat for valuable fish species.

Traditional Medicine

Nigeria’s rich biodiversity is a treasure trove of traditional medicine. Local communities rely on traditional healers who use plant and animal species to treat various health conditions. Preserving biodiversity ensures the continuity of these valuable medicinal practices and the sustainable use of natural resources.


Nigeria’s biodiverse landscapes and unique wildlife attract tourists from around the world. Nature reserves, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries offer opportunities for wildlife observation, birdwatching, and eco-tourism. These activities promote environmental awareness, support local communities, and generate revenue for the country.

Research and Education

Nigeria’s biodiversity serves as a valuable resource for research institutions and educational institutions. Studies on local flora and fauna contribute to scientific knowledge, enabling advancements in medicine, agriculture, and conservation. Education about biodiversity instills a sense of environmental stewardship among future generations.

Public Health

Biological diversity plays a crucial role in public health. Ecosystems provide natural buffers against diseases, regulate disease vectors, and offer sources of medicine. Conserving biodiversity helps protect the population from zoonotic diseases and ensures the availability of natural resources for pharmaceutical research.

Job Creation

Biodiversity conservation efforts create employment opportunities. Wildlife reserves require park rangers, guides, researchers, and conservationists. Sustainable practices in agriculture, ecotourism, and forest management generate jobs while safeguarding natural resources for future generations.

Cultural Heritage

Biodiversity is intertwined with Nigeria’s cultural identity. Indigenous communities have relied on the natural resources for centuries, developing traditions, customs, and folklore centered around biodiversity. Preserving biodiversity safeguards cultural heritage and maintains the ties between communities and their environment.

Climate Change Mitigation

Healthy ecosystems sequester carbon dioxide, helping to mitigate climate change. Forests act as carbon sinks, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting biodiversity contributes to climate change adaptation and promotes sustainable practices that reduce the carbon footprint.

Recognizing the value of biodiversity is crucial for Nigeria’s sustainable development. By integrating biodiversity conservation into national planning and strategies, the country can ensure a harmonious coexistence between its people and the natural world.

Sector Benefits of Biodiversity
Agriculture Improved crop yields, pest control, soil fertility
Ecological Services Water regulation, erosion prevention, climate control
Traditional Medicine Medicinal plants, cultural practices, sustainable resource use
Tourism Ecotourism, revenue generation, environmental awareness
Research and Education Scientific knowledge, advancements, environmental education
Public Health Disease regulation, medicine sources, pharmaceutical research
Job Creation Employment opportunities, sustainable practices
Cultural Heritage Traditional practices, cultural identity, community ties
Climate Change Mitigation Carbon sequestration, sustainable practices

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Main Threats to Biodiversity in Nigeria

The biodiversity in Nigeria faces numerous threats, primarily driven by underlying factors such as population growth, poverty, policy and legislation constraints, poor land use planning, governance issues, socio-cultural characteristics, and the impact of climate change.

The unchecked population growth in Nigeria puts immense pressure on the country’s natural resources and habitats. As the population increases, there is a greater demand for agricultural land, infrastructure development, and resources, which leads to habitat degradation and fragmentation.

Poverty is another significant threat to biodiversity. Poverty drives communities to engage in unsustainable agricultural practices, such as slash-and-burn farming, which results in deforestation and loss of critical habitats.

The lack of effective policy and legislation constraints adds to the challenges faced by biodiversity conservation efforts in Nigeria. Inadequate enforcement of protective measures allows for unsustainable resource harvesting, illegal wildlife trade, and deforestation to persist.

Poor land use planning exacerbates the threats to biodiversity in Nigeria. Inadequate spatial planning and unregulated urban expansion lead to the destruction of natural habitats, encroachment on protected areas, and the loss of biodiversity hotspots.

Governance issues also contribute to the threats faced by biodiversity in Nigeria. Weak institutional coordination, corruption, and issues in law enforcement undermine conservation efforts and exacerbate habitat degradation and biodiversity loss.

The impact of climate change further compounds the threats to biodiversity in Nigeria. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events affect ecosystems, leading to habitat loss, species migration, and reduced ecological resilience.

These threats collectively result in habitat degradation, unsustainable agricultural practices, unsustainable resource harvesting, extractive industries’ activities, pollution, and the introduction of invasive species, all of which deteriorate Nigeria’s rich biodiversity.

biodiversity threats Nigeria

Threats Contributing Factors
Habitat degradation Population growth, poor land use planning
Unsustainable agricultural practices Population growth, poverty
Unsustainable resource harvesting Policy and legislation constraints, poverty
Extractive industries’ activities Policy and legislation constraints
Pollution Governance issues, socio-cultural characteristics
Invasive species Climate change, governance issues

Status of Biodiversity in Nigeria

An assessment of Nigeria’s biodiversity reveals its rich status, with numerous endemic species found within the country. Nigeria boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna that are unique to its ecosystem. These endemic species, found nowhere else in the world, are a testament to the country’s ecological significance.

Endemic species play a vital role in maintaining the balance of Nigeria’s biodiversity. They have adapted to the specific climatic and environmental conditions of the region and have become an integral part of the ecosystem. The presence of endemic species in Nigeria is not only biologically significant but also culturally and economically valuable.

biodiversity status Nigeria

The conservation of Nigeria’s endemic species is crucial for the preservation of the country’s unique biodiversity. However, it poses significant challenges. Habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and illegal wildlife trade are just some of the threats that endanger these species. Efforts are being made by various organizations and government bodies to address these challenges and protect Nigeria’s endemic species and their habitats.

In conclusion, Nigeria’s biodiversity status is a testament to the country’s natural heritage and ecological significance. The presence of endemic species highlights the importance of conservation efforts and the need to protect these unique and invaluable assets for future generations.

Challenges to Biodiversity Conservation

Biodiversity conservation in Nigeria faces several challenges that hinder its effectiveness. Addressing these challenges is crucial to safeguarding Nigeria’s rich biodiversity for future generations.

Financial Resources

Limited financial resources pose one of the primary challenges to biodiversity conservation in Nigeria. Insufficient funding hampers the implementation of conservation projects, including the establishment and maintenance of protected areas, research initiatives, and public awareness campaigns. Without adequate financial resources, it is challenging to carry out essential conservation activities and develop sustainable financing mechanisms for long-term conservation efforts.

Coordination Among Institutions

Effective coordination among various institutions is critical for successful biodiversity conservation. However, in Nigeria, inadequate coordination between government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and local communities hinders conservation efforts. Enhancing coordination mechanisms can facilitate the sharing of knowledge, resources, and best practices, leading to more efficient and impactful conservation outcomes.

Political Will

Political will plays a significant role in prioritizing and implementing biodiversity conservation measures. In Nigeria, the lack of consistent political will at all levels of government poses a challenge to effective conservation action. Encouraging political leaders to recognize the importance of biodiversity conservation and integrate it into national policies and development plans is crucial for long-term protection.

Research Capacity

Strengthening research capacity is essential for evidence-based decision-making and conservation planning. In Nigeria, inadequate research facilities, limited access to scientific literature, and a shortage of trained researchers hinder biodiversity research and monitoring efforts. Boosting research capacity through training programs, collaborations, and investments in scientific infrastructure can provide valuable insights for effective conservation strategies.

Public Engagement

Public engagement and awareness are vital for achieving widespread support and participation in biodiversity conservation. However, in Nigeria, there is a lack of public awareness about the value of biodiversity and its significance for sustainable development. Promoting public engagement through education campaigns, community involvement, and ecotourism initiatives can foster a sense of responsibility and stewardship towards Nigeria’s diverse flora and fauna.

Challenges to Biodiversity Conservation in Nigeria

Challenges Description
Financial Resources Limited funding for conservation projects
Coordination Among Institutions Inadequate collaboration and information sharing
Political Will Lack of consistent support from political leaders
Research Capacity Inadequate facilities and trained researchers
Public Engagement Lack of awareness and involvement from the public

The challenges to biodiversity conservation in Nigeria are complex and interconnected. However, by addressing these challenges and implementing robust strategies, Nigeria can protect its unique biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.


The preservation of Nigeria’s biodiversity and the integration of sustainable practices into the built environment are crucial for ensuring a vibrant and sustainable future. By prioritising biodiversity preservation and incorporating sustainable development practices, Nigeria can secure a harmonious coexistence between its people and its natural heritage.

Conservation efforts, including the establishment of policies and governance approaches, play a vital role in protecting Nigeria’s diverse flora and fauna. Through initiatives such as the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, as well as collaboration with organizations like the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Nigeria is taking steps to protect its threatened species and critical habitats.

Furthermore, raising public awareness about the value of biodiversity is essential for fostering sustainable practices. By understanding the importance of ecological services, such as watershed protection and climate change mitigation, Nigerians can actively contribute to biodiversity conservation.

With continued commitment to sustainable practices and conservation efforts, Nigeria has the potential to not only preserve its rich biodiversity but also promote environmentally conscious development in the built environment. By embracing sustainability, Nigeria can pave the way for a greener, healthier, and more prosperous future.


What is Nigeria Biodiversity and the Built Environment?

Nigeria Biodiversity and the Built Environment refers to the relationship between the diverse flora and fauna in Nigeria and the development and construction activities that impact the natural environment.

Why is environmental conservation important in Nigeria?

Environmental conservation in Nigeria is crucial because the country is home to a remarkable biodiversity, including thousands of plant and animal species. Preserving this biodiversity is essential for maintaining ecological balance, sustaining ecosystem services, and protecting the country’s natural resources.

What role do organizations like the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) play in wildlife preservation?

Organizations like the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) play a pivotal role in wildlife preservation in Nigeria. They work towards designating conservation zones, protecting endangered species, combating deforestation and poaching, and raising awareness about the importance of conserving Nigeria’s natural resources.

What policies and governance approaches are in place for biodiversity conservation in Nigeria?

Nigeria has implemented the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to address threats to biodiversity and implement conservation measures. The country has also launched the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime, enforcing a ban on illegal timber trade and establishing biodiversity-related legislations to protect wildlife and critical habitats.

What are the challenges faced in biodiversity conservation in Nigeria?

Challenges in biodiversity conservation in Nigeria include poor law enforcement, threats to national parks and reserves, lack of institutional coordination, and low public awareness. Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensure the long-term preservation of Nigeria’s rich biodiversity.

What are the main threats to biodiversity in Nigeria?

The main threats to biodiversity in Nigeria include deforestation for farming and infrastructure development, overexploitation of resources, and the impact of climate change. These threats lead to habitat loss, unsustainable agricultural practices, and degradation of biodiversity.

What factors influence sustainable development in Nigeria?

Factors such as population growth, infrastructure development needs, poverty reduction efforts, and environmental sustainability influence the balance between development and biodiversity conservation in Nigeria. Stakeholder awareness, funding, policy frameworks, infrastructure planning, and the fight against corruption are crucial in sustaining sustainable development in Nigeria’s built environment.

What is the value of biodiversity to Nigerians?

Biodiversity in Nigeria contributes to food production, domestic and commercial products, ecosystem functioning, watershed protection, public health, cultural heritage, tourism, research, job creation, and climate change mitigation. Understanding the value of biodiversity is essential for fostering sustainable practices and integrating biodiversity conservation into national planning and strategies.

What are the main threats to biodiversity in Nigeria?

The main threats to biodiversity in Nigeria are driven by factors such as population growth, poverty, policy and legislation constraints, poor land use planning, governance issues, socio-cultural characteristics, and the impact of climate change. These threats lead to habitat degradation, unsustainable agricultural practices, unsustainable resource harvesting, extractive industries’ activities, pollution, and invasive species.

What is the status of biodiversity in Nigeria?

Nigeria possesses a rich biodiversity with numerous endemic species found within the country. However, this biodiversity is under threat due to various factors, emphasizing the need for conservation efforts to protect and preserve Nigeria’s diverse flora and fauna.

What are the challenges to biodiversity conservation in Nigeria?

Biodiversity conservation in Nigeria faces challenges related to financial resources, limited local government allocations, coordination among institutions, political will, research capacity, poverty reduction, and policy sectoral linkages. Strengthening these aspects is crucial for overcoming obstacles and effectively conserving Nigeria’s biodiversity.

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Written by: Jackie De Burca

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