COMMUNITY PERCEPTION OF ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHANGES ON WETLAND AREAS OF THE LAKE CHAD BASIN IN AFRICA

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J. A. APER
J. A. ABAWUA

Abstract

In the Lake Chad area, more than 30 million people earn their livelihood on activities carried out in the lake and its catchment which includes important wetlands and floodplains covering 966,955 km2. In addition, Lake Chad wetlands play important environmental roles in regulating annual water supply, in recharging ground-water, and in helping to control flooding. The Lake Chad is one of the most productive fresh water systems in Africa. Before the back-to-back drop in water volume, the Lake Chad basin was an important economic region in Africa. Today, the basin has lost 90% of its pastoral ecosystem to the degradation of the Lake. This study examines the various changes that have resulted from the ecological and socio-economic stress on the wetland areas of the Lake Chad basin, and the communities’ response and efforts to sustain development in the area. Along with literature review, field interviews and observations on the various aspects of the environment, a total of 360 respondents were sampled among the fishing, farming, and livestock communities in Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger all within the Lake Chad region to represent the regional economic diversity of the environment. The results of the study reveal that the over 90% decrease in the oroginal volume of water in the lake, a general decline in rainfall, and episodes of drought have caused the disappearance of some wildlife species, neessiatating changes in habitat as well as fauna and flora composition, and resulltant presence of vegetation growth and sand in the lake, leading to a decline in asssociated socio-economic activity. Also social and psychological stress, and increased degradation of the lake environment due to pressure on the available wetland resources, have been identified as the major challenges of environmental change in the Lake Chad basin. The communities have adopted various environmental, social and economic measures to overcome the stress but need institutional and technological reforms and support to sustain emerging socio-economic development efforts and stem the environmental crisis currently prevailing in the region.

Keywords:
Lake chad, socio-economic, environmental change, wetland, livelihoods, basin

Article Details

How to Cite
APER, J. A., & ABAWUA, J. A. (2018). COMMUNITY PERCEPTION OF ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHANGES ON WETLAND AREAS OF THE LAKE CHAD BASIN IN AFRICA. Journal of Global Ecology and Environment, 8(3), 138-152. Retrieved from http://www.ikppress.org/index.php/JOGEE/article/view/4373
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Original Research Article