Wetlands for life
Integrated wetland management
The wetland system around Lake Tana is one of the largest and ecologically most important in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. These wetlands cover a total area of more than 65,000 ha, surrounding the whole lake. They are rich ecosystems that flood each year during the rainy season.
The wetlands around Lake Tana have been contributing to ecosystem resilience and human well-being for generations. They supply freshwater for humans and livestock, raw materials such as reeds, plants, fish and food, they help maintain the water cycle, serve as flood and erosion control, and provide an environmental filter against pollution and eutrophication. They provide a valuable habitat for many different wildlife species.
However, these sensitive ecosystems are currently under severe pressure from human activities. The wetlands are being drained to satisfy the ever-growing need for agricultural land. The water is used for irrigation to drive the intensification in agriculture. Overgrazing by livestock is leading to further degradation. Pollution and sewage are being washed into these areas from neighbouring cities and settlements. Unless action is taken soon, these precious ecosystems will be lost forever which will have serious consequences for the whole region.
This is why the project aims to restore and secure the ecological functioning of the wetlands around Lake Tana. Through the introduction of participative sustainable management methods and the development of alternative uses for five different wetland types (coastal, floodplain, and artificial wetlands, natural reservoirs, riverbanks, and river marshes), these invaluable habitats will be protected. First a detailed wetlands assessment will be carried out to identify ecological data, stakeholders and threats. Capacity building and training in sustainable wetland management for the communities that live near the wetlands is a particularly important aspect of the project. Developing alternative sources of income, for example through establishing ecotourism or commercial fish breeding, will relieve some of the pressure on these precious resources.
Many stakeholders are involved in the implementation of this component including, Bureau of Agriculture (BoA), Bureau of Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use (BoEPLAU), Bureau of Water Resources Development (BoWRD), Bureau of Culture, Tourism and Parks Development (BoCTPD), Kranichschutz Deutschland and Bahir Dar University.