Mangrove description - Nigeria

Vegetation description
Mangrove swamps in
Nigeria stretch along the entire coastline, which is characterised by high rainfall and humid conditions. The largest expanse of mangroves is found in the Niger Delta between the region of the Benin River in the west and the Calabar, Rio del Rey estuary in the east. A maximum width of 30 to 40 km of mangroves is attained on the flanks of the Niger Delta, which is itself a highly dynamic system. Two large lagoons, Lagos and Lekki, dominate the coastal systems in the west of the country. Both are fringed by mangroves, backed, in turn, by swamp forests. In the far east of the country there is a second major delta/estuary system associated with the Cross River which also has a considerable area of mangroves extending in a belt of 7-8 km on either side off the estuary and up to 26 km in the deltaic zone at the head of the estuary. In the lagoons and deltas, Rhizophora racemosa is the most abundant mangrove, is the pioneer at the edge of the alluvial salt swamp, while R. harrisonii is dominant in the middle of the zone and Rhizophora mangle on the inner edge. Avicennia germinans is only sparsely represented. In the estuaries the species composition may be different and Nypa fruticans, an introduced species, becomes more abundant. The mangroves rarely exceed more than 10-12 m in height but can on occasion reach more than 40 m. Associated with the main mangrove formation is strand vegetation with Conocarpus erectus and other woody species that grows at the edge of the swamps, mainly near the sea

Uses and threats
Fishing is an important activity in most mangrove areas. The major threats being experienced by mangroves are those resulting from oil pollution and uncontrolled wood exploitation. Oil and gas installations are spread throughout the central and western parts of the Niger Delta and there are four tanker ports at the delta face.


FAO, UNEP. 1981. Tropical forest resources assessment project. Forest resources of tropical Africa. Part II: Country Briefs. Rome, 586 pp.
Spalding, M.D., Blasco, F. & Field, C.D., eds. 1997. World Mangrove Atlas. The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan. 178 pp.

Play a role in the preparation of the revised World Atlas of Mangroves

The information provided above will be used as an input to the revised World Atlas of Mangroves and as national level description in the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2005 Thematic study on Mangroves.

During the past months the information has been updated thanks to the kind collaboration of several national and international experts, who has helped the Initiative in collecting recent data. The collection has been now completed and the page will be updated as soon as possible.

The Initiative would like to thank all the people who contributed with additional data, for the improvement of the information on this country. All the support provided will be duly acknowledged in the country profiles.
last updated:  Friday, October 6, 2006