Biodiversity Conservation

Biodiversity Conservation

The Chairman of Itu LGA, His Royal Highness, Edidem Edet Akpan Inyang (AMP), the Clan Head of Itam, Etebom Donald Uboh, the Village Head of Obong Itam, Ette Idung Ekop Nna-Akpan, the Village Head of Ikot Uso Akpan, Itam, the Council of Chiefs, Members of the Third Order (NGO’s), Members of the Academia, Members of the Press, Students, Conservationists, distinguished dignitaries here present, all protocols dully observed.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this inauguration ceremony of Biodiversity Preservation Center (BPC) Multipurpose Indigenous Tree Species Nursery at Obong Itam, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom State, established in 2010 towards the in-situ conservation of Sclater’s guenon (Cercopithecus sclateri), which is the world’s 15th most important monkey species in terms of international primate conservation priority as at year 2000. This project has been code named, “Itam Monkey Conservation Project”.

Based on the foregoing, BPC Nigeria, a national non-profit, non-political and non-governmental organization, is dedicated to the protection, regeneration, restoration and preservation of biodiversity in Nigeria and the surrounding regions through field ecological research, conservation education, public enlightenment programs and community empowerment activities, especially on sustainable methods of forest resources extraction, mainly the bushmeat and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), as well as community empowerment activities, all aimed at involving the rural host communities in conservation and biodiversity management towards the achievement of sustainable natural resources utilization and development. In BPC Nigeria, Biodiversity conservation serves as an insurance policy for the future of our natural resources and human populations who depend on them.

 The environment within which we live continues to experience changes the world over. Man has caused profound environmental changes in his search for survival and development. The changes have been crucial to the growth of human population, security and quality of life.  On the other hand, it has also caused negative environmental changes manifested in soil erosion, loss of cropland, pollution, deforestation and destruction of biological diversity among others.  Recurrent incidence of droughts, famine, floods and rapid vegetation modification, all point to a possible breakdown in the natural ecosystematic balance. These events lead to loss of lives, crops and properties, rising levels of food scarcity and hunger. For example, Lake Chad in Northern Nigeria and Lake Saguibine in Northern Mali, which were once vast lakes, have now evaporated to become arid deserts.

The savannah dry regions are exposed to changing rainfall patterns, desertification and droughts.  The coastal communities in the Niger Delta Region and Lagos are facing rising sea levels and increased flooding of the low lying human communities thereby creating local refugees.

Among the human activities that have striking effects on the earth’s environment is deforestation, which is a progressive removal of forest cover.  Nearly 50% of the earth’s land surface has been denatured by direct human actions, with significant consequences on biodiversity, soil and climate. Across the globe, there is urgent need to raise and grow more trees. We must replace the forests we have destroyed before worse scenarios are provoked. Our survival depends on it. There is also an urgent need to stem down the current rate of deforestation in the country. Bandy (1994) observed that a continuous trend will result in diminishing the remaining tropical rainforest by the end of the 21st century.

Multipurpose Indigenous Tree Species seedlings from the BPC nursery are capable of providing numerous ecological goods and services, of a range of complexities over long periods of time if the communities will grow and nurture these trees to maturity. The benefits of the seedlings will include Soil improvement, Biodiversity proliferation, microclimate amelioration and carbon sequestration, improved water quality, enhanced and sustained production service with improved animal welfare and income generation.

One of the most appealing benefits that will be derived from the inclusion of woody plants on farmland include landscape corridor for wildlife and enlarged habitat, most especially for the Sclater’s guenon which is the keystone species of the Itam Monkey Conservation Project. The project targets two core communities (Ikot Uso Akpan and Obong) and six (6) support zone communities – Ekim, Ikot Andem, Efi, Ikot Ukab, Uyo Itam and Ibiono village. This enlarged habitat will provide valuable refuge for wildlife, birds and insects and would help diminish the long-term effects of forest fragmentation as well as increase the aesthetic value of the area, while building the peoples capacity to adapt to climate change variability. The overall long-term goal of this innovative conservation project is the attainment of socio-economic development, food security and environmental balance.

In conclusion, let me stress that we intend to produce from our nursery annually up to 10,000 indigenous multipurpose tree species seedlings such as Irvingia gabonensis, Pentaclethra microphylla, Cola edulis, Persia americana, etc among other economic trees, boundary/fencing trees, anti-erosion and other seedlings with sundry benefits which will be distributed free of charge to interested community members for planting in their chosen localities. These seedlings will be closely monitored by BPC staff who on a yearly basis will select outstanding tree planters for recognition and award.

Let me reiterate the fact that wild animals have no boundaries, neither do they respect or recognize human constituted boundaries. Therefore the monkeys of Itam remain common property of all Nigerians but held in trust by Itam people for posterity.

May I further use this opportunity to commend the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), The Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Small Grants Programme (SGP), for coming out boldly to fund the current phase of the community base conservation initiative code named, “Itam Monkey Conservation Project.

I will not fail to recognize the Primates Conservation Incorporated (PCI), USA who first funded the Sclater’s guenon conservation project under the Center for Wetlands and Waste Management Studies (CWWS), University of Uyo, Nigeria; the Tropical Resources and Conservation Center led by Mr. Ikponke Nkanta and Environmental and Life Resources led by Mr. Idongesit Eyo, who have also recently become interested in focusing diverse conservation attention on this rare and endemic African Primate of high conservation priority.

I also want to commend Dr. Edem A. Eniang for his undying passion towards biodiversity conservation and his commitment towards the long-term survival of Nigeria’s biodiversity especially for eventually bringing the BPC to his homeland (Itam) after years (decades) of propagating biodiversity conservation all over Nigeria.

Once again, you are all welcome to this unique occasion.

Long live the Sclater’s guenon!

Long live BPC Nigeria!

Long live the people of Itam, the custodians of these primate species!

Long live Akwa Ibom State!

Long live Nigeria!

Quick Link

Biodiversity Conservation

BPC Nigeria, a national non-profit, non-political and non-governmental  . . .  Read More

Ecological Restoration

Ecological Restoration at BPC Nigeria emerged as a separate project in our Field . . .  Read More

Biodiversity Conservation

BPC Nigeria, a national non-profit, non-political and non-governmental  . . .  Read More

Wide life Management

BPC Nigeria beliefs that Wildlife Habitat Management which involves the . . .  Read More

Climate Change Adaptation

There is the overriding poverty of the general population which has caused the . . .  Read More

Field Ecological Survey

Field Ecological surveys identify the habitats and/or species that exist within an . . .  Read More

Conservation Education

At BPC Nigeria, we let our audience to know that Conservation is not an abstract  . . .  Read More

Latest Blog Post