Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources commemorated the International Day of Biodiversity (IDB) with the theme “Our Solutions are in Nature” through a webinar on Thursday, 28th May, 2020.
The International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated each year to raise global awareness about the importance of protecting biological resources and the global biodiversity that shapes our environment, not only the various species of plants, animals and microorganisms around us, but also the genetic diversity of each of them, as well as the great variety of ecosystems that make up our planet.
Speaking at the conference on “Conserving Wetlands For Sustainable Urban Livelihood”, Mr. Adedamola Ogunsesan, Project Manager, Lekki Conservation Centre said that wetlands provide a diversity of ecosystem services; provisioning, regulatory, supporting and cultural services which are essential for the human society. This is particularly necessary in cases where large urban agglomerations exist.
He revealed further that wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt-water, including areas of marine within the depth no more than six(6) meters at low tide.
He portrayed wetlands as a source with the capability of providing humans with freshwater, ensure food supply, sustain biodiversity, protect against flooding, and store carbondioxide. Wetlands remain a major source of employment globally, they are also ideally placed to showcase truly sustainable livelihoods.
He said “Wetlands provide many ecosystem services. However, many of the services are not traded in regular economic markets, and thus have no observable prices. This fact contributes to the continued degradation of many wetlands and natural sites around the state. Moreover, competition for land uses and the societal demands for urbanization and development have exacerbated the pressures on wetlands”
In her presentation on “The Role Of Nature In Ecosystem Sustainability”, Dr. Fisayo Jerome, Fisheries Resources Department, Marine Biology Section, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) defined nature as a phenomenon of the natural world, things that are not made by human, examples include air, water, animal, and weather and so on. While Ecosystem is defined as a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Examples of the ecosystem are; Aquatic (Marine and Fresh), Terrestrial (Desert, Savanna and Forest) and Human etc. She sees Sustainability as the study of how natural systems function, remain diverse and produce everything it needs for the ecology to remain in balance.
She highlighted the importance of nature and ecosystem as the provision of habitat to wild plants and animals; supporting different food chains and food webs; regulating essential ecological processes and support lives; and involving in the recycling of nutrients between biotic and abiotic components.
She said further that “Nature sustain the integrity of the ecosystem by maintaining ecological processes and a diverse community of organisms. For example, protect the water, reduce logging and reduce chlorofluorocarbon”.
She, however, identified some factors affecting the integrity of the ecosystems as loss of biodiversity, climate change, deforestation and habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive species and pollution.
Mr. Ogunsesan invited stakeholders to collaborate with the Lagos State Government to provide the following solutions: inventory and documentation of wetlands resources; wetlands valuation; participatory management of wetlands; urban plans inclined towards sustainable wetlands; wetlands restoration; develop RAMSAR designation roadmap and develop wetlands conservation masterplan.
Dr. Jerome proposed that for the ecosystem to be fully restored, the following must be done: repairing and replanting wetlands, creek beds, forestland, and other habitats; eradicating invasive species; replacing invasive species with native species; enforcing environmental laws; monitoring lagoons and wetlands habitats and preparing reports on findings to government authorities; and also the protection of vulnerable and endangered species in the marine environment.