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An Assessment of Vulnerability and Adaptation of Coastal Mangroves of West Africa in the Face of Climate Change

  • Isaac Boateng
Chapter
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 25)

Abstract

This chapter seeks to evaluate the current status of West Africa’s mangroves. It assesses Climate Change vulnerability and adaptation options for mangroves in West Africa. West African mangroves contribute a wide range of environmental services, economic goods and social services. In spite of the important contributions of mangroves in the region, they experiencing high rate of degradation. It is estimated that the degradation and the deforestation of mangroves in the region have resulted from their uncontrolled anthropogenic exploitation due to urbanisation, population growth, salt production, industrial pollution and the cutting of mangroves for firewood. Besides the afore-mentioned anthropogenic impacts on the mangroves, the anticipated effects of climate change such as increased temperatures, sea level rise, increased intensity of storm and precipitation are likely to have the most severe impacts on mangrove ecosystems. Climate change and the anthropogenic driven variations of these environmental forces will inevitably have a profound effect on coastal zones and mangroves. The challenge of reversing the degradation of mangrove ecosystems in the face of uncontrolled exploitation and impacts of climate change seems to be a very complex problem. This assessment has identified that both the past and the present vulnerability were more controlled by anthropogenic activities than the effects of climate change, though it is expected that climate change may be the major driving force in the long-term. However, many adaptation options exist to enhance specific ecosystem services in ways that reduce negative trade-offs, but these involve changes in policies, institutional framework and better practices for exploitation, and good management strategies. The chapter concludes that West Africa should implement adaptation policy options including reducing anthropogenic impacts, maintaining coastal buffer zones, restoration of mangroves, catchment management, establishing regional monitoring and regulations and education and local participation to enhance sustainability.

Keywords

Climate change Mangrove ecosystem services Vulnerability West Africa Mangroves adaptation 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil Engineering and SurveyingUniversity of PortsmouthPortsmouthUK

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