Carbon, biodiversity & ecosystem services:
exploring co-benefits


The Republic of Nigeria spans some 924 000 km2 and is the most populous country in Africa. It holds important biodiversity including major populations of Chimpanzees and the endemic Cross River Gorilla. However, Nigeria suffers high rates of deforestation and forest degradation; more than 3 500 km2 of forest land is lost or degraded every year by activities such as uncontrolled logging, conversion of land for large scale agriculture, and unsustainable fuel wood harvesting. The government is seeking ways to address this trend; Nigeria joined the UN-REDD Programme as a partner country early in 2010.

Nigeria map
Distribution of terrestrial carbon, IBAs and great apes
in Nigeria (data from Birdlife International 2010, and
updated from Caldecott & Miles 2005)

In July 2010, UNEP-WCMC undertook a preliminary carbon and co-benefits mapping exercise for Nigeria in consultation with the National REDD Technical Committee (see summary report). To support REDD+ planning, as a basis for discussion and for planning further analyses, a new national carbon map was generated and overlaid with datasets on areas of importance for bird species, chimpanzee and gorilla distribution ranges, Protected Areas, and areas designated for oil and gas exploitation.

Preliminary results show that Nigeria holds 7.5 Gt of carbon, with the largest areas of high carbon density located along the Niger Delta and in the rainforest regions of the South. About 15% of Nigeria’s carbon stock is under some form of protection, and 86% of carbon within areas of importance for bird species is protected.

The collaboration with Nigeria continues and options to take this work further are being explored.