Could community science drive environmental management in Nigeria's degrading coastal Niger delta? Prospects and challenges

N. Zabbey*, N. C. Kpaniku, K. Sam, G. N. Nwipie, O. E. Okoro, F. G. Zabbey, B. B. Babatunde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Niger Delta is the third largest wetland in the world and has Africa's largest expanse of mangroves. It is Nigeria's oil and gas hub and hot spot of biodiversity, including endemics. The region is, therefore, critically strategic for conservation of environmental quality, especially biodiversity, of the Gulf of Guinea. However, the delta's environmental integrity has been heavily impacted by numerous human activities particularly oil and gas industrialization and local livelihood resource extraction. Government agencies, educational and research institutions as well as independent researchers have not been able to study and monitor the environmental quality of the Niger Delta coast in sufficient detail. Lack of requisite human resources (technical expertise and number of personnel), gaps in sampling and analytical tools, inadequate government and non-governmental incentives, poor funding, insecurity and the remoteness of some of the coastal environments are the major challenges. The need to involve multiple stakeholders, including ordinary citizens in monitoring and reporting changes in the Niger Delta coastal land- and seascape is stressed. Leveraging on two empirical case studies, this paper discusses the prospects and challenges anticipated with the novelty of engaging community science (non-scientists) in monitoring environmental, especially biodiversity changes in the Niger Delta region. The proposed framework for engaging community science would serve, as exemplar, for similar regional context where human capital required for effective environmental monitoring is inadequate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100571
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Development
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2021


  • Co-management
  • Conservation outcomes
  • Data collection
  • Environmental degradation
  • Monitoring

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