Skip navigation

Forbidden (sacred) lakes and conservation: the role of indigenous beliefs in the management of wetland resources in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

Forbidden (sacred) lakes and conservation: the role of indigenous beliefs in the management of wetland resources in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

Anwana, EnoAbasi D. (2008) Forbidden (sacred) lakes and conservation: the role of indigenous beliefs in the management of wetland resources in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

[img] PDF
EnoAbasi_D._Anwana_2008.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 16 March 2019.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (35MB)

Abstract

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.

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.

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.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.490043
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nigeria, Niger delta, wetlands, biodiversity, indigenous people, belief systems, freshwater lakes, fish, reptiles, community, resource management, fishermen, lakes
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2018 12:58
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/6099

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics