ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCE RESEARCH GROUP AND CONCEPT NOTE

Environment and Natural Resource Research Group and Concept Note
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Background
Environmental resources are viewed as important economic assets which are called natural capital. The productivity and sustainability of Nigeria’s environment is heavily dependent on how this asset is managed. The management in turn affects the availability, stocks and functioning of the remaining assets, either enhancing opportunities or putting livelihoods at risk. The range of livelihoods, with its opportunities for human development and alleviating extreme poverty and hunger extends from total dependence on natural resource systems either for subsistence or as part of business to total dependence on wage earnings from trade or industry. National and local aspirations for sustainable development are linked to the integrity of natural resources and the environment. It is therefore critical to conserve and sustainably use the nation’s environmental assets, not only from an environmental perspective but also as a sustainable resource to support human well-being and development and as a sink for wastes from production processes. The role of research in promoting conservation and sustainable use of natural resources cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria, with her growing population makes ever increasing demands on her natural resources to provide the basic needs of the population. The simple act of fulfilling these human needs always has had some environmental impacts. In some cases those impacts have grown to the point that they are undermining our environmental life support systems. This environmental degradation poses a dual set of challenges: reducing current human impacts on the environment while ensuring that people have equitable access to resources to meet their needs. Meeting this challenge is where research in Natural Resource and Environmental economics becomes critical. In other words, questions research in the field address include: How can equitable access to these resources be ensured for all people now and in the future? How can current human Impact on the environment be reduced?
This research team seeks to conduct research on environmental and natural resources. The broad objective is to contribute to natural resource and environmental sustainability in Nigeria through evidence based research. Our research objectives are:
1. To conduct problem solving research and disseminate findings to all stakeholders through appropriate channels
2. To contribute to capacity building of next generation of researchers whom are members of the team through mentoring to strengthen their science skills and leadership potentials.
3. To influence policy and strategy choices and implementation in the area of natural resource use and management.
Research sub-themes
Our research interests include the following:
i. Natural resource conservation and management,
ii. Valuation of environmental resources
iii. Environment and poverty
iv. Environmental Policy
v. Environment and Gender.
vi. Governance of natural resources.
vii. Environmental education and communication
Justification
Nigeria faces numerous concurrent challenges in the management of natural resources. These challenges include a rising population, changing livelihoods and expectations, impact of climate change and rapid urbanization. These challenges create tensions between resource users.
In addition to economic considerations, management and governance of natural resources require a sound technical footing. Any attempt to improve natural resource management must be based on research evidence to produce lasting results. The output from this research theme will contribute to the development of knowledge and insight into natural resource conservation and management.
Undertaking research as a team would enhace capacity of members and broaden opportunities coming to our departments in terms of greater participation in institutional research. Information provided will be useful in guiding policy makers in the field of natural resources. It would also be relevant to other researchers and other stakeholders.
Composition of the Group
This research group is comprised of the following members:
Prof A.E. Agwu Department of Agricultural Extension ( Lecturer)
Dr E.C. Amaechina Department of Agric. Economics ( Lecturer)
Mrs Ifeoma Anugwa ( Nee Irohibe) Department of Agric Extension ( lecturer)
Miss C. A. Okwor Department of Agric. Economics ( Masters Student)
Miss Mbani Tochukwu Department of Agric. Economics (Graduate Assistant and Masters Student)