Community-based management of rivers and wetlands
These different ecosystems function as moisture and carbon sinks and are an important part of the combined river basin of the Goje, the Omo, the Baro-Akobo and other rivers. In addition to this the wetlands offer food, breeding grounds and safe retreats to rare bird species like the Wattled Crane and the Rouget's Rail as well as large mammals like lions and buffalos.
Species recordings at selected wetlands in Kafa have documented approximately 126 species of plants (e.g. Cyperus latifolius, Anagallis serpens), 106 species of birds and 21 species of mammals. Along with the forests, the aquatic habitats are the main suppliers of ecosystem services, and are used by the local communities not only as sources of water but also to produce food, animal feed, and building materials as well as to generate income, as some of the natural materials found there can be used for medicinal purposes or basketry etc.
But even though the numerous rivers and wetlands have hardly been explored in their complexity and significance yet, they are already under severe pressure from overexploitation.
The aim of the NABU’s work package is to ensure the restoration and protection of these important wetlands and waterheads and to transfer them to community-based management, whose task it will be to limit the overexploitation of the wetlands and maintain their functions as biodiversity hotspots and CO² sinks. In long-term perspective, unique wetland and river sites will be designated as new core zone of the Kafa Biosphere reserve.
The following activities are planned:
- Mapping of important rivers and wetlands of the Kafa Biosphere Reserve and map creation,
- Selection of at least two pilot sites (both rivers and wetlands),
- Comprehensive analysis of the pilot sites in terms of species composition, types of habitats, threats,
- Community watershed mapping in order to identify types of use with communities,
- Participatory development of Community Action Plans (CAP) for the pilot sites,
- Implementation of the CAP including conservation and sustainable management measures:
- The setting up of nursery sites for crop and agroforestry species,
- The training of farmers in sustainable watershed management,
- The elaboration of a user manual,
- Farmers exchange,
- Promotion program.
Ethiopia is a globally significant biodiversity hotspot and is considered to be one of the world's most species-rich countries. The last remaining highland forests have been identified as particularly valuable key ecosystems. However, they have declined dramatically in size. more →