|Objective • Executive Summary
The objectives of this study are to:
- collate comprehensive baseline information on the SZCs whose SLPs have been selected in each of the four PAs. The baseline data is to assist in providing the bases for comparison of pre- and post-situation in the SZCs and the PAs.
- develop a set of verifiable indicators by synthesizing the essential baseline information for monitoring and evaluation of Project impact on the PAs and their support zones.
However, the primary objective of the current study, as a component of LEEMP, is to collate baseline information on 60 communities in the six (6) LGAs that have been identified to participate in this Project in Bayelsa State. This baseline information is to broadly assist in providing an idea of the project impact based on a comparison of pre and post project situations in the LEEMP Communities. Another objective is to recommend monitorable indicators and means of verifying the indicators on the basis of prevailing environmental and social characteristics of the communities.
Geomatics Nigeria Limited (GNL) was contracted to carry out baseline studies and prepare monitorable indicators for four selected Protected Areas (PAs) and their support zone communities (SZCs). The PAs are Kainji Lake National Park in Niger State; Lame Burra Game Reserve, Yankari Game Reserve and Maladumba Lake and Forest Reserve, all in Bauchi State. The major aim is to assess ecological, biophysical, geographical, demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the PAs and their support zones. The contract was awarded under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the National Parks Service (NPS) to support the Protected Areas and Biodiversity Management component of the Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Project (LEEMP). The objectives of this study are to collate comprehensive baseline information on the SZCs whose sustainable livelihood projects have been selected in each of the four PAs; and develop a set of verifiable indicators by synthesizing the essential baseline information for monitoring and evaluation of Project impact on the PAs and their support zones.
To implement the study, GNL carried out comprehensive surveys of selected communities surrounding Yankari Game Reserve (10 communities), Kainji Lake National Park (20 communities: 10 in Borgu sector and 10 in Zugurma sector), Lame Burra Game Reserve (10 communities), and Maladumba Lake and Forest Reserve (10 communities). The study approach was multidisciplinary in nature, involving the skills of Environmentalist/Natural Resources Expert, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Rural Sociologist, Wildlife/Biodiversity Expert and GIS specialists.
In Kainji Lake National Park, the field work involved four major task areas, namely biodiversity assessment, social assessment, water quality assessment and soil sampling. For the biodiversity assessment, a modified Point-Centred Quadrat (PCQ) method was used in obtaining information on plant species composition, frequency of occurrence and the basal area from each of the PAs. Under the social assessment component of the study, baseline data on each community were collected, using questionnaires designed for the purpose. To carry out water quality assessment for each support zone community, water samples from two of their most prominent water sources (usually hand-dug well or borehole) were taken and assessed. Samples were not taken from streams because of their dynamic nature. Some water quality parameters were determined on the spot while others were determined in the laboratory. Similarly, soil samples were collected from 0 -15 cm and 15-30 cm depths. These samples were taken to the laboratory for analysis of some physical and chemical properties.
The coordinates of the support zone communities obtained with GPS during the field work were captured and entered in the database. They were converted to the decimal degrees and Minna datum reference before the desktop staff entered the geographic properties of the data in the Geodatabase. Maps of the PAs and their SZCs were then produced.
Findings from the study indicate that people living in the support zone communities depend on the park buffer zones for many of their needs. Much of their livelihood activities are dependent on the natural resources of the buffer zones. Any intervention from GEF at this time will be aapropriate and welcome by the communities. The study shows that there is a good potential for local participation in community management of development projects in the support zone communities. A major factor that supports this is the relative social homogeneity of the population. In many of the support zone communities, majority of the local inhabitants belong to the same ethnic group and religion. Since they share a common set of basic norms, values and beliefs, it is not difficult to mobilize them for efforts recognized as being for common group. Another promising consideration is the presence of numerous social groups and associations in the rural areas, many of which are community development-oriented. These groups have varying levels of capacity which can be built up to provide the social mechanism for communal efforts. It is important, however, to recognize that each should be assessed in terms of its viability and limitations for effective mobilization and guidance of the local population.
During the baseline study in each community, each of them identified and ranked the community needs. It is recommended that due consideration of these should be made when designing specific intervention for each community. There is no one specific project that will work in all the communities given the different ecological conditions, social characteristics, and perceived priority needs. This requires flexibility in project design. Even though the people will not resist any intervention that is not contrary to their culture or religion, their full commitment may not be guaranteed if such interventions are not considered top priority to them. Consequently, every stage of the intervention from project design to implementation and monitoring should be developed in a participatory but guided manner to encourage projects focusing on alternative income generating activities where existing ones are unsustainable or environmentally destructive.
Any GEF intervention project will involve a significant contribution by the communities particularly in terms of donating land for resource management purposes and providing human resources. The specific nature and amount of the contribution will depend upon the nature of the project, but the contribution should be commensurate to the benefits to be derived by the same persons making the contribution.
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