Frequent alteration in land cover often leads to decreased stability of ecosystems which can also increase the vulnerability of rural communities to externalities of environmental change. This study carried out in parts of the coast of southwestern Nigeria utilized topographic base maps and two‐time Landsat TM imageries to assess the trend in land cover changes and ecosystems degradation for the three time periods 1965, 1986 and 2001. Remote sensing, geographic information systems and landscape pattern analysis were employed for data processing and analysis. The focus of the analysis was on land cover change, land degradation, and changes in landscape pattern resulting from interplay of natural and anthropogenic drivers. The results show increased trend in human‐induced land cover change with concomitant severe negative impacts on ecosystems and livelihoods. About 98,000ha (30% of the area) was seriously degraded as at 2001. About 33,000ha (10%) was under permanent saline water inundation with about 21 communities already dislocated. Loss of fragile ecosystems including marshland (from 7.7% in 1965 to 1% in 2001) and mangrove (from 14.6% in 1965 to 3.1% in 2001) was intense, while over 300 ponds/small lakes which are important for the local fishing economy have disappeared. About eighteen communities were also dislocated by erosion in a section around the southeastern parts of the coastline. Landscape metrics generated, suggested increased ecosystems perturbation and landscape fragmentation. The paper also discussed the implications of these rapid changes for ecosystems stability, food security and sustainable rural livelihoods in the area.
Background: , the disease associated with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is currently a global pandemic with several thousands of confirmed cases of infection and death.However, the death rate across affected countries shows variation deserving of critical evaluation. Methods: In this study, we evaluated differentials in COVID-19 confirmed cases of infection and associated deaths of selected countries in Sub-Sahara Africa (Nigeria and Ghana), South Africa, Europe (Italy, Spain, Sweden and UK) and USA. Data acquired for various standard databases on mutational shift of the SARS-CoV-2 virus based on geographical location, BCG vaccination policy, malaria endemicity, climatic conditions (temperature), differential healthcare approaches were evaluated over a period of 45 days from the date of reporting the index case. Results: The number of confirmed cases of infection and associated deaths in Sub-Sahara Africa were found to be very low compared to the very high values in Europe and USA over the same period. Recovery rate from COVID-19 is not correlated with the mutational attributes of the virus with the sequenced strain from Nigeria having no significant difference (p>0.05) from other geographical regions. Significantly higher (p<0.05) infection rate and mortality from COVID-19 were observed in countries (Europe and USA) without a current universal BCG vaccination policy compared to those with one (Sub-Sahara African countries). Countries with high malaria burden had significantly lower (p<0.05) cases of COVID-19 than those with low malaria burden. A strong negative correlation (-0.595) between mean annual temperature and COVID-19 infection and death was observed with 14.8% variances between temperature and COVID-19 occurrence among the countries. A clear distinction was observed in the COVID-19 disease management between the developed countries (Europe and USA) and Sub-Sahara Africa. Conclusions: The study established that the wide variation in the outcome of the COVID-19 disease burden in the selected countries are attributable largely to climatic condition (temperature) and differential healthcare approaches to management of the disease. We recommend consideration and mainstreaming of these findings for urgent intervention and management of COVID-19 across these continents.
Background: Following the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic and the report of index case in Africa, the number of countries in Africa with confirmed cases of the infection has grown tremendously with disease now being reported in almost all countries on the continent, with the exemption of Lesotho after 75 days. It is therefore necessary to evaluate the disease outcomes among the African countries as the situation unfolds for early identification of best practices for adoption. Methods: In this study, COVID-19 disease outcomes (confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries), testing capacities and disease management approaches among African countries were evaluated. The relationship between COVID-19 infections in African countries and their performance on global resilient indices including the Human Development Index (HDI), performance on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Risk Index (GRI) were also examined. Data acquired from various standard databases were evaluated over a period of 75 days from the date of reporting the index case. Results: This study has revealed compelling spatial differences in the incidence, deaths and recoveries from COVID-19 among African countries. Egypt, South Africa, Morocco and Algeria were clustered as countries with highest values of COVID-19 disease outcomes on the continent during the 75-day period of observation. The cluster analysis and comparison of countries in terms of percentage recovered cases of confirmed infections revealed that Mauritius, Mauritania, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Togo and Uganda had the highest scores. Comparative analysis of COVID-19 across the world revealed that the parameters were relatively inconsequential in Oceania and Africa continents, while Europe, North America and Asia had significantly higher cases of disease outcomes. For COVID-19 testing capacities, South Africa, Ghana and Egypt are leading in total number of tests carried out. However when the number of tests carried out were related to population number of the countries, Djibouti, Mauritius, Ghana and South Africa are found to be the leading countries. With respect to management of the disease in Africa, all the countries adopted the WHO protocols, personal hygiene, economic palliatives and social distancing measures. Only three countries in Africa (Madagascar, Togo and Burkina Faso) had a state supported initiative to utilise traditional medicines or herbs as alternatives to control COVID-19. Additionally, most of the countries are providing prompt treatment of the patients with a range of drugs especially Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine and Chloroquine-Azithromycin combination. The study found that no strong relationship currently exists between the global resilient indicators (HDI, SDG and GRI) and COVID-19 cases across Africa. Conclusions: This study has revealed compelling spatial differences in disease outcomes among African countries and also found testing capacities for COVID-19 to be abysmally low in relation to the population. During the 75 days of observation, African countries have recorded significantly low number of deaths associated with COVID-19 and relatively high recovery rates. Countries in Africa with higher rate of recovery from the disease were found to have adopted strict adherence to some of WHO protocol to contain the disease, isolate all those who test positive to the disease and provide prompt treatment of the patients with a range of drugs especially Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine and Chloroquine-Azithromycin combination. The study recommends that the approaches adopted by the African countries which achieved high recovery rates from COVID-19 should be integrated into healthcare management plans for the disease across the continent even as the situation unfolds.
The adoption of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (ABTs) was supposed to increase conservation awareness in different countries and regions of the world. However, there seems to be a limited understanding of the importance of ecosystem services, offered by biological diversity. Thus, the continued decline in biodiversity, especially in developing countries. This study appraised the level of success of the first target of Nigeria's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), which is hinged on the first ABT. In a national survey, data were obtained from a total of 1,124 respondents (839 professionals and 285 non-professionals), using a structured questionnaire. Information on the respondents' knowledge of biodiversity conservation and the associated ecosystem services, were elicited. Most of the non-professionals had a low level of understanding of biodiversity concepts (4.9 ± 1.7 to 20.5 ± 3.4%), while there was a moderate level of understanding among the professionals (48.0 ± 8.6 to 88.8 ± 3.4%). Awareness of the NBSAP was low for both groups (43.8 ± 7.2% professionals and 12.1 ± 3.7% non-professionals). The study concludes that there is a need to step up campaigns on biodiversity conservation in Nigeria and promote visits to natural sites. Youth engagement through the employment of graduates of biology-related disciplines, to educate the public on biodiversity conservation and the action plan, could also be a strong determinant to the success of the NBSAP targets.
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