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Alarm Raised Over Loss Of Biodiversity Among Plants, Others In Nigeria

A professor of Ecology and Environmental Management, Prof Olusegun Awotoye, has raised the alarm over the loss of biodiversity among plants, animals and fishes in Nigeria’s waters, saying that urgent action must be taken to stem the tide.

Loss of biodiversity is a global phenomenon. However, Nigeria is not exempt as Professor Awotoye has pointed out.

He said, “Nigeria is having this problem because a number of our fishes have not been documented and they are disappearing from nature. Invariably, what may happen is that most of the plant species that should have been useful for biotechnology and medicinal and aesthetic values and so on, they will go out (of nature) without being noticed. They will disappear. This is a major issue.”

He added that “the drivers of biodiversity loss are in operation in Nigeria.”

According to Greenfacts, there are direct factors and indirect factors that affect biodiversity. Direct drivers that explicitly influence ecosystem processes include land use change, climate change, invasive species, overexploitation, and pollution. Indirect drivers, such as changes in human population, incomes or lifestyle, operate more diffusely, by altering one or more direct drivers.

Continuing Professor Awotoye said, “Apart from the drivers we also have a peculiar problem.”

That problem, according to him, is that “our local communities are not really ready to release information about some important plants, fishes and even animals that are good.”

He attributed old age of certain community members who had knowledge of local plant and animal species as one factor hindering access to information about these species, saying that as “these aged ones grow older and die, the knowledge of these species goes with them.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), biodiversity plays a crucial role in human nutrition through its influence on world food production, as it ensures the sustainable productivity of soils and provides the genetic resources for all crops, livestock, and marine species harvested for food. Access to a sufficiency of a nutritious variety of food is a fundamental determinant of health.

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