Researcher Francesco Bregoli at IHE Delft has been on a three week mission to the Mara wetland, Tanzania, to gather data on the evolution of the wetland under different scenarios of climate, water use and land use changes along the whole Mara river basin.
The data will be used to model the evolution of the wetland and improve the management of the river and wetland.
According to Bergoli, when the natural equilibrium of a wetland’s ecosystem is broken by changes in water, sedimentation or nutrients feeding, the habitat morphology is altered and the ecosystem health is likely jeopardized.
Previous studies reported an increment of sediment supply to the wetland due to increasing deforestation, farming and grazing activities along the basin.
As new river structures are planned, the IHE Delft researcher expects that river management will become an important challenge for the area.
The measurements by Bergoli will support an analysis of the water and sediment balance within the area of the Lower Mara floodplain.
Furthermore the model will serve as a tool to improve the water resources and land use management in order to prevent the deterioration of the Mara wetland habitat and ecosystem.
Berrgoli reported on his most recent trip to the wetlands in a blog on the website for earth and space scientists, hosted by the American Geophysical Union (AGU).