COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF FLORAL AND FAUNAL DIVERSITY OF TWO PROPOSED PROJECT SITES IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION OF NIGERIA
|Chima U.D1*, Kamalu O.J2 and Omokhua G.E1
|Corresponding Author: Chima U.D, Tel: +234-803-812-1887, E-mail: [email protected]|
|Related article at Pubmed, Scholar Google|
Developmental projects are multiplying in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria with their accompanying deleterious impacts on biodiversity. The study was conducted to evaluate the tree and animal species diversity of two proposed project sites – The Rivers State Sports Complex (RSSC) and the Rivers Songhai Initiative (RSI) – located in Obi/Akpor and Tai Local Government Areas of Rivers State respectively, in order to provide baseline data necessary for the monitoring of future impacts. Tree enumeration was carried out using twenty 35m x 35m quadrats randomly distributed in each of the sites while the animal species enumeration was done using 10 systematically established counting points in each of the sites. A total of 231 individuals belonging to 17 tree species were encountered in the RSSC Site while 303 individuals belonging to 7 tree species were encountered in the RSI Site. Elaeis guineensis was the most abundant tree species in both sites with a density of 104.08 and 46.12 trees/hectare in the RSI and RSSC Sites respectively. The RSSC Site compared better than RSI Site in terms of tree diversity. A total of 167 individuals belonging to 17 and 10 animal species were encountered in the RSSC Site and RSI Site respectively. Cephalophus sp. with a frequency of 14.97% was the most abundant animal species in the RSSC Site while Ploceus aurantius with a frequency of 32.93% was the most abundant animal species in the RSI Site. In terms animal species diversity, the RSSC Site also compared better than the RSI Site. Animal species similarity (Sorensen’s Index: 47.06) for both sites was higher than tree species similarity (Sorensen’s Index: 26.32). The proposed projects are most likely to exacerbate the poor status of tree and animal diversity in the study sites. The use of low impact techniques to ensure minimal damage to the residual vegetation during clearance was suggested.