"Strengthening Governance for Biodiversity Conservation and Livelihood support in the Niger Delta"
The Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), funded by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is a pilot participatory natural resources management project and livelihood support programme for communities around Urhonigbe and Gele Gele Forest Reserves in Edo State. The Project implementation began in 2007. BAP focuses on Forest Regeneration, Livelihood Enterprise Development and Community Based Governance for Natural Resources Management.
LIVELIHOOD ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
The livelihood component of the BAP Project seeks to empower support zone communities through agro-based small-scale business enterprises.
Poultry Enterprise Development Project (PEDP) scheme. One hundred and fifty beneficiaries from twenty three communities in Uhronigbe wree trained on Poultry farming under the Poultry Enterprise Development Project (PEDP) scheme. Two thousand three hundred chicks, two hundred and thirty bags of growers marsh and two hundred and thirty packets of drugs, all valued at about two million five hundred thousand naira (#2.5M) were distributed to the communities to start poultry business.
One hundred people from ten communities in Gele-Gele and Uhronigbe benefited from small scale enterprise development micro-credit scheme. BAP Project has committed over five million naira (#5m) to the scheme beside training workshops for the beneficiaries.
3.Commercial Tree Scheme and improved Cassava Stem
Distributed improved Cassava stem.Five thousand economic tree seedlings including giant star apple, Irvingia guinessis were distributed to farmers in Uhronigbe and Gele-Gele surrounding communities. Pine apple orchards were also established in Kolokolo, Ajmimogba and Abiala II. BAP Project in collaboration wit the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) also distributed improved Cassava stem to two thousand five hundred farmers in both Forest Reserves to increase yield and improve the quality of Cassava products.
4.Distribution of Mobile Cassava Graters
Individuals whose communities are higher producers of Cassava were given mobile cassava graters through the small-scale business loan scheme.
GOVERNANCE FOR NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
The governance structure of the Project was designed to build communities’ local capacity to take over the management of the forest reserves. This structure also has the institutional support of the Edo State Biodiversity Law which has enacted through the efforts of BAP Project.
The Project established the Forest Management Committee (FMC) and the Grassroots Consultative Committee (GCC) in the thirty six communities of the two Forest Reserves. The FMC comprises of eight man committee which includes the community head, head farmer, youth, men and women leader in each community around the Forest Reserves.
FOREST CONSERVATION AND REHABILITATION PROGRAMMES
The baseline survey showed Uhronigbe Forest Reserve having eleven Mammals and forty one birds, while Gele-Gele Forest Reserve shelters a number of ungulates, primates, rodents, reptiles, several Birds belonging to forty six species. Some identified threats include deforestation, uncontrolled subsistence farming, illegal hunting, wild fires and over grazing.
Delineation of the Conservation Zones
The demarcation process in Uhronigbe Forest Reserve led to the total protection of the remaining secondary forest in Permanent Sample Plot (PSP) 82, (size 6ha) and Strict Nature Reserve (SNR) size 300ha.
Gele-Gele Forest Reserve which covers and area of about 36,300 hectares and drained by a dense network of rivers was also demarcated into core conservation and buffer zones. The Reserve has mosaic vegetation ranging from Mangrove and fresh water swamp to tropical rainforest and secondary forests re-growth.
Forest Rehabilitation and Nursery Establishment
The project launched a forest rehabilitation programme to rebuild the carbon stock of UFR, most particularly given the current global implication of climate change and to mitigate identified threats. The project established a nursery for tree seedling production in Ugo in 2007. It was initially supported by the Edo state Government by the donation of 30, 000 exotic seedlings.The nursery has produced over 50,000 indigenous seedlings. A total of 12.1km perimeter boundary and over 16ha of buffer zone around the SNR have been planted. The indigenous species planted include Khaya grandifolia (Red Mhogany), Khaya senegalensis (White mahogany), Terminalia ivorensis (Black afara) and Entandrophragma angolenses (Lagos wood).