Removal of Nypa Palm Within Bodo Cleanup Work Area

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The invasive nypa palm (Nypa Fruticans) originated in the Indo-Pacific region and was brought to Nigeria in the early 1900s. The nypa palm plant structure reduces the habitat available for fishery nursery and for mangrove associated biota. Unfortunately, in areas devoid of mangroves such as found in the Bodo cleanup area, the nypa palm out competes the mangrove in recolonizing the damaged areas.  Therefore, Bodo cleanup operations are physically removing nypa seedlings and cutting larger plants to give mangrove resettlement and future planting a better chance to re-populate the area.

Given the root structure of a nypa, it is highly possible for the cut palms to regrow. However, a temporary removal enables the mangrove propagules gain a jump and out compete the nypa in settlement.

Although only a minor percent is currently found within the Bodo creeks, the nypa palm has the potential of growing and spreading fast and wide through the creeks where mangroves are yet to be planted or regenerated. Hence its removal. The importance of mangrove in the coastal region cannot be overemphasized as it serves to protect the shoreline from erosion, provides a natural nursery for fishes and invertebrates, and offers a haven for threatened and endangered species.

Sprouting nypa seed pod in mangrove area | Photo: Erich Gundlach

After work by the remediation contractors, the SCAT (Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique) team monitors and verifies that all nypa palms are removed from each area before confirming it as meeting Phase 2 field requirement. SCAT team members come from the Bodo Community, the BMI (Bodo Mediation Initiative), government agencies (DPR, NOSDRA and RSMENV) and SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd.).


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