The Impact of Oil and Gas Exploration: Invasive Nypa Palm Species and Urbanization on Mangroves in the Niger River Delta, Nigeria

  • Aroloye O. Numbere
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 25)


The Niger River Delta is a world-acclaimed biodiversity hot spot according to the World Bank. Its mangrove forest is the largest in Africa and the Atlantic. This ecosystem provides firewood, building materials, medicinal herbs and food for the local population. But oil and gas exploration, deforestation, dredging, urbanization and invasive species over the years had converted it from a pristine to a disturbed state. The greatest damage to mangroves in the Niger Delta comes from oil and gas exploration activities, which began in 1956 in Oloibiri. Millions of crude oil spillages had occurred, since the striking of the first oil well from ruptured well heads, pipelines, and jetties, constructed on both onshore and offshore locations. This degraded condition had reduced the mangrove forest from highly dense to lowly dense and also to mixed forest. Exploratory activities had also resulted to additional problems, such as invasion by alien species and urbanization of mangrove areas. Urbanization is beneficial to man’s development, but costly for the mangroves. The establishment of industrial and residential quarters to accommodate oil workers and their families had increased the urban sprawl around mangrove forest areas. These activities had reduced the resilience of mangroves against the invasion of nypa palm (Nypa fruticans). The palms were intentionally introduced into the Niger Delta in 1906, but for close to a century the mangroves had kept them in check. However, in the last 20 years, the palms had overwhelmed and completely colonized most mangrove forests.


Niger Delta Urbanization Invasive species Hydrocarbon pollution Mangrove Exploration Seismic activities Oil spillages Pipelines 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aroloye O. Numbere
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal and Environmental BiologyUniversity of Port HarcourtChobaNigeria

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