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Alternative livelihoods and income opportunities can reduce coastal communities' dependence on mangrove ecosystem thereby mitigate floods



Mangrove forests serve as sink for green house gases and as defenses against coastal floods. But, like in many other coastal regions of  the world,  local coastal communities in Nigeria exploit  mangrove ecosystem for food, fish, fuel wood, timber, local craft material, construction and building materials and  for income  generation. Unfortunately, the over dependence of coastal communities on the mangrove ecosystem for livelihoods, coupled with urbanisation, is causing rapid depletion and lost of mangrove forests.

With the depletion of the mangrove ecosystem comes vulnerability to flooding occasioned by climate induced sea level rise. Many coastal communities in Nigeria have lost their primary means of livelihoods to flooding since the worst form of flooding hit Nigeria in 2012. According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the 2012 flooding which took Nigeria by surprise,  affected 30 of the 36 States of Nigeria, 7 million peopled were affected in these States, 597, 476 houses were destroyed, 2.3 million displaced and 363 death were reported with large track of farmland and other means of livelihood destroyed. The Post Disaster Needs Assessment conducted from November 2012 to March 2013 put the estimated total value of infrastructure, physical and durable assets destroyed at $9.6bn, while the total value of losses across all sectors of economic activity was estimated at $7.3bn. The combined value of these damages and losses was put at US$16.9bn (Tami, et. al, 2015). Finding lasting solution to flooding in Nigeria means that all possible avenues for preventing future occurrence and reducing risks must be explored.

Our CLA project is designed to contribute to solutions to flooding by proposing the training of local coastal communities in alternative livelihood and income generating skills and by providing them with basic social amenities that will enhance change of traditional lifestyle to that which will reduce their dependence on the mangrove forest.

What actions do you propose?

The physical actions which CLA advocate are:

1. Integration of alternative livelihood support plan and socio-economic incentives for coastal communities in climate hazards mitigation and adaptation policies.

2. Sensitization of local coastal communities on behavoural change and lifestyle alternatives

3. Training of local coastal communities on alternative income generating skills that are not dependent of natural ecosystem resources (examples - tailoring, bid making, digital education, etc)

4. Provision of basic social amenities such as electricity, piped water supply, toilets, schools, information resource centres, recreation centres, etc. Most local coastal communities in Nigeria lack these basic amenities

5. Monetary subsidies for purchase of alternative cooking fuel like cooking gas to reduce deforestation and use of firewood that releases carbon to the atmosphere

6. Set up community based early action and monitoring programme where community members can have opportunity to discuss further action plans and ensure sustainability of the most profiting plans

Who will take these actions?

CLA advocates an inclusive and participatory approach to the project design and implementation. Therefore, all stakeholders and actors including government, private companies, international and local organizations, academia, consultants, community members and individuals are to be engaged.

Governments at all levels - local, state and federal can incorporate the CLA project into their development polices and include the funding of the projects into budgetary allocations.

Private companies operating in these coastal communities like the oil exploration companies and financial institutions can include CLA projects in their Corporate Social Responsibility Plans.

International Agencies can provide funds for implementation of the projects while the local NGOs can sponsor the trainings and sensitization programme. Individual philanthropist could also take up the funding of all or parts the projects.

Local consultants and training institutions can be engaged to carry out the training of local community people.

Local community members can form strong partners in the project and participate in design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the project.


Where will these actions be taken?

CLA is primarily designed for coastal communities in Nigeria that depends on natural ecosystem resources for livelihoods and who are loosing their livelihoods due to ravaging flooding events. However, the project is designed in such away that it could be replicated in any coastal community in African or other developing countries.

What are other key benefits?

The outcomes envisioned by this proposal include:

1. reduced deforestation and mangrove forest re-growth

2. reduced flood events

3. reduced post flood risk and livelihoods damages

4. safer environment

5. community livelihood enhancement

6. more responsible and accountable citizens

7. economic development and poverty reduction

What are the proposal’s costs?

Although a comprehensive economic cost has not been prepared for this project but as a preventive measure, the anticipated economic cost of implementing the CLA project would weigh far below the economic cost of the losses encountered during flood events and that of post flood disasters remediation in Nigeria and elsewhere.

By using cost benefit analysis, economic cost of the project can be determined. Funds for the project can be harnessed through government budget allocation, public-private partnership, donor agency funding or as part of private company CSRs.

There are no anticipated side effects of the proposed actions rather it is a project that can bring about economic development and reduce pressure on the environment.

Time line

The CLA projects could be implemented within a short term plan (5-15 years). It is projected to have long term impacts and so, should be a continuous process. However, reviews and evaluation could be done every 5 years to access whether outcomes are achieved.

Related proposals

With the exception of Cassava-nol for clean cooking advocates for reduction in deforestation, no other proposal is related to this one


Amos, E., Akpan, U., & Ogunjobi, K. (2014). Households’ perception and livelihood vulnerability to climate change in a coastal area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1-22. doi: 10.1007/s10668-014-9580-3

BDCP. (2007). Implementation of a Public Awareness and Public Participation Programme in Relation to Mangrove Depletion And Proposed Re-Forestation in Coastal Nigeria. Feasibility Studies report Mangrove and Nypa. Prepared for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Tami, A. G., & Moses, O. B. E. N. A. D. E. (2015). Flood vulnerability assessment of Niger Delta states relative to 2012 flood disaster in Nigeria. vol, 3, 76-83.