Majorwetlands of the world
Locationof Kafue wetland
Locallyknown as Butwa, is an area with seasonal flooding, swampy and has an open lagoon.It is located along River Kafue which is located in central andsouthern provinces of Lusaka Zambia. During the rainy season, it isflooded to half a meter in depth. Kafue wetland measures 50kilometers wide and 240 kilometers long
Figure1 Kafue wetland of Zambia
Becausethere are open floodplains along Kafue River, many importantactivities are carried out. Beneficial activities such as cattlegrazing, fishing, hydroelectric production, and farming of sugarcaneare some of the activities which are carried out. The increase ofhuman population has put the area under consistent pressure which maylead to its distinction. There have been measures undertaken by WWFto see that the ecosystem will not be damaged further due to theintegrated plans to bring all stakeholders with different strategiesof ecosystem safety and survival.
InAfrica, this is the most studied wetland because it has floodplainswhich are unique. The study has been more important because itunearths the changes caused by human beings and the biodiversity ofthe wetland. Until recently, it never required the support of thegovernment or non-governmental organization. It started happeningrecently when there was increased destruction by human being.
Thehydroelectric plant called Kafue Gorge which is situated to theEastern part of Kafue Flats is the biggest power supply plant in thecountry. To the western part, there is a reservoir whose work is tomaintain sufficient water which will allow for power generationthroughout the year in maximum scale. The presence of large sugarcanefarms has resulted in high population because many people havemigrated to the area in such of jobs. The high number of people whohave settled in the area has led to many cases of overfishing andillegal hunting. This high population has led to some parts to sufferfrom immense human pressure (Humphries, 2013).
DominantSource of Hydrology
Themain hydrological source of Kafue flats is Zambezi River. This liesentirely in Zambia covering twenty percent of the land. It isestimated that almost half of the population in Zambia live in Kafuebasin. The basin divides into two major parts. We have the upper partof the basin which is the headquarters found upstream and the lowerpart found in the basins downstream.
Theflow in this hydrology is mostly unregulated and its flow is mostlyinfluenced strongly by dams surrounding it which are Kafue Gorge andTezhi. During the rainy season there is increase of the amount ofwater flowing through the river stream. Upstream catchmentcontributes forty-five percent of the total flow in the river. Directprecipitation accounts for fifty five percent of the flow in KafueFlats.
Dueto the existence of black clay soil, the water from precipitation isretained. Many people living within the wetland depend on hunting,fishing and grazing as their main source of earning a living. Thegeological setup of the wetland is in a good form that it supportsthe life of Kafue inchweantelope from extinction. The soils which are mainly found in theregion are black clay soils. These are not good in drainage henceannual flooding occurs. This regenerates fish populations. It has anegative impact on those carrying out grazing activities (Hamilton etal.,2002). Kafue George dam built at the upstream and Kariba dam built atthe downstream affect the flow of water. These dams control theamount of water flowing during rainy and dry season.
Semi-deciduousvegetation is most common. This vegetation is also referred to asMiombo.It has a good feature of fire resistance which has been developedover a long period due to continuous occurrence of fire incidents. Itis covered by large and open plains. This vegetation acts as the mainsource of food for all the herbivorous living in the wetland.
Thereare many communities which lived in Kafue flats due to many economicactivities taking place in the region. These communities differwidely in cultural practices. There is high animosity among thesecommunities. This has caused political problems in the country. Thefollowing communities live around Kafue flats
TheLozi, The Ngoni, The Tonga, and The Kaonde are the community membersliving around this wetland. Due to the increase in the number ofpeople who have flocked the region to search for a living, there hasalso been a rise in aids transmission. These tribes always doindividual fishing and it is mainly artisanal. The poorestcommunities engage in activities such as processing and manufacturingof the caught fish in order for them to sustain their netlivelihoods. During low season in fishing, some communities startother options such as farming and carpentry. Almost eighty-fivepercent of the males living in the area engage in fishing. After theyare done with the work, they are assisted by their wives intransporting the fish to urban centers for sale. Trading activitiesare mainly assumed to be the work of a woman.
Theactivities carried out such as hunting has led some of the animalspecies to become extinct. This has reduced the number of touristsvisiting the country. Employment opportunities have reduced due tothe decline in the tourism sector.
Restorationof the wetland
Untilnow, there have been few measures on how to manage and restorewetland areas. Restoration means that the activities taking place inthe area have to be managed. If animal and crop farming, fisheries,irrigation, hunting, industry development and housing are not welltamed there will be serious damage to the ecosystem of the area.
Suchmeasures in the restoration of Kafue include
Themain aim is to indicate certain sites as important parts and needconservation. There is also an attempt to put in place network siteswhich will help in setting out a message to the surrounding communityon the importance of practicing conservation (Reid et al., 2013).
Givingmanagement authorities’ support
Technicalsupport should be provided to authorities in the local regions duringthe preparation of proposals and plans for the areas designated forprotection. Public awareness promotion should be enhanced in order toinform the public about the importance of wetland conservation.Funding projects intended to improve conservation of the wetlandshould be integrated with development.
Valuesof wetland and their functions should be raised for every member tobe aware of the profits generated by these areas. This can be donethrough stickers and use of posters to convey the message to thepublic. This advertisement is mostly involved in deliveringinformation about the qualities of the wetlands and it should beaimed at capturing the audience of the general public (Reid etal.,2013).
Theleaflets which were produced were distributed to teachers,politicians, municipalities, servants and local non-governmentalorganizations. In order to make the message more appealing, thereshould be presentations in guided tours, school lectures, use ofarticles in conveying the message and holding conferences.
Thesupportive team should be alert and ready to help when there is anyproblem. The rate of fishing and hunting should be limited to avoidany possibility of endangering the lives of the living organismswhich depend on Kafue flats for their survival (Reid etal.,2013).
Futureof Kafue Wetland
Thegovernment of Zambia has come up with proposals on how to secure thefuture of Kafue Wetland. The government has devised mechanisms on howto control hunting, fishing and farming activities. It has alsoreduced human encroachment which was a threat to the survival of wildanimals living in Kafue Flats.
Hamilton,S. K., Sippel, S. J., & Melack, J. M. (2002). Comparison ofinundation patterns among major South American floodplains. Journalof Geophysical Research: Atmospheres,107(D20).
Reid,J. R., Colloff, M. J., Arthur, A. D., & McGinness, H. M. (2013).Influence of catchment condition and water resource development onwaterbird assemblages in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia.Biologicalconservation,165,25-34.
Humphries,M. S. (2013). DDT residue contamination in sediments from Lake Sibayain northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Implications forconservation in a World Heritage Site. Chemosphere,93(8),1494-1499.