Nigeria’s pristine freshwater ecosystems need protection before they are lost

As human populations grow, pure freshwater systems are becoming rare around the world. Urbanization and infrastructure development have had an impact on the natural environment in African countries, as elsewhere. Many species have become extinct.

In Nigeria, various environmental pressures have jeopardized freshwater biodiversity in recent years. Undisturbed freshwater systems have become scarce, as human activity has destroyed many rivers, lakes and streams. 

Cutting down trees, using water for domestic and industrial purposes, farming on river banks, dumping garbage and washing are some of the activities that contribute to reducing freshwater biodiversity. 

Studies have found that the animals in Nigeria’s freshwater ecosystems are mostly species that indicate low or moderate water quality. In the waters studied, there are fewer species that indicate excellent water quality. Larvae of non-biting midges, soldier flies and hover flies are examples of species that indicate poor water quality. But biological indicators of excellent water quality, such as mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies, are frequently underrepresented

My research group recently conducted an ecological study of the freshwater systems of three waterfalls in Nigeria’s remote regions. They are all far from human settlement and are situated in Nigeria’s different vegetation and geographical zones. Our findings revealed that the streams had exceptional biological water quality, which is unusual in Nigeria.

It’s important to protect these places because pristine freshwater ecosystems are becoming rarer globally.


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