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Anwana, EnoAbasi D. (2008)
Publisher: University of Greenwich,
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: G1, GE, GF
The relationship between communities of the Niger Delta and their most important wetlands was assessed with the aim of characterizing the importance of linkages between indigenous beliefs and the conservation of biodiversity. Comparative multidisciplinary studies of the belief systems and use of four freshwater lakes, one sacred and one non-sacred, in each of two communities, Biseni and Osiama in Bayelsa State, were conducted. A combination of in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, participant observation, structured questionnaires and ecological field surveys, was used. Assessment of fish biodiversity in the four lakes was conducted in conjunction with local fishermen.\ud \ud Results revealed a structured system of beliefs, rules and meanings within these communities which influence the communities’ use of natural resources and ensure the protection of certain reptiles, such as the threatened dwarf crocodile, Osteolaemus tetraspis. There are social sanctions and penalties for contravening the rules. Common ancestry and social connectedness among neighbouring communities link the management of some of these lakes together, forming a network of lakes reserved for periodic fishing. Measurements of fish biodiversity showed that the sacred lakes had higher diversities, as measured by both the Shannon-Weiner and Simpson-Yule indices, than the non-sacred lakes. Characiformes and Siluriformes were the predominant orders confirming observations made by fisherfolk within the study group.\ud \ud The culturally protected freshwater lakes studied provide insights into how biodiversity loss in the Niger Delta can be tackled through the involvement of indigenous people in the management of threatened biodiversity and watershed areas. A recommendation is made for capacity building of indigenous groups and training of common interest groups within the region for sustainable wetland resource management.
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