Nigeria’s disappearing coast: combining remotely sensed data and leveraging on indigenous knowledge in a coastal erosion vulnerability assessment.

Authors: Uduak Affiah*, University of Glasgow, Brian Barret, School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, Larissa Naylor, School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, Mia Perry, Community Development and Adult Education, University of Glasgow
Topics: Earth Science, Hazards and Vulnerability, Africa
Keywords: Coastal Erosion, PGIS, Vulnerability, Vulnerability assessments, Indigenous knowledge
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 26
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The coast is under intense pressure and impacts from human (population growth, industrialisation, overexploitation of resources) and physical (e.g. sea-level rise, storms, erosion, flooding) factors. Owing to such impacts, combined human and physical environment studies are necessary to understand coastal erosion pressures and societal resilience to them. Globally, risk-based vulnerability assessments often lack buy-in from local communities. As such, this work integrated a time series analysis of coastal erosion with indigenous perceptions, using ‘participatory GIS’ to provide a better understanding of coastal erosion vulnerability. The study area, Akwa Ibom coast is in southern Nigeria and is highly vulnerable to coastal hazards. Nigeria is one of the African nations with the lowest level of awareness, preparedness, and mitigation of climate change-related coastal hazards. Thus, ideally suited to examine coastal erosion challenges faced by developing countries. In this study, high rates (up to -24.8m/yr) of coastal erosion were measured using remotely sensed images (1984 - 2020) with an average annual erosion of -4.13+0.18m/yr along the entire coast. This physical assessment was coupled with a community-based coastal hazard analysis based on local knowledge to identify possible adaption strategies to minimise the effects of current and future erosion on local communities. Our results show that a perspective of the social-ecological processes combined with the physical vulnerability assessment gives an in-depth understanding of the risks and vulnerability associated with coastal erosion. The inter-disciplinary approach adopted here provides a useful template for combined physical and social vulnerability assessments to climate-change risks in data-scarce regions globally.

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