Species Diversity and Modification in Freshwater Swamp Forest Ecosystem: Implications for Conservation and Climate Change
Keywords:carbon storage, climate change, disturbance, floristic modification
Freshwater swamp forests are wetland ecosystems found across the tropics in seasonally or permanently waterlogged soils. Although they provide valuable ecosystem services, they are poorly known when compared to other tropical forest ecosystems. Beyond its description and few inventories, not much is known with regards to its richness, structure and modifications across the
Niger Delta, where it is the most extensive across West Africa. This study assessed the species richness, diversity and modification across 8 one hectare forest plots. Total number of species across the disturbed sites was higher than the ones in the intact sites. In terms of species richness and diversity, the ecosystem was found to be poor when compared with other tropical forest ecosystems. The disturbed forest sites were found to be more modified in its floristic composition, as most pioneer species were replaced with more-light tolerant flora. Such replacements were mostly made up of palms which are less carbon dense when compared with the other native species. Ensuring that forest modification is reduced across the ecosystem are steps towards
ensuring that the biodiversity of the ecosystem are conserved and that it remains resilient and capable of coping with future climatic changes in the region.