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Kgathi, D.L., Mmopelwa, G., Vanderpost, C., Wolski, P. and Motsholapheko, M.R. 2013. Impacts of desiccation on ecosystem services and household adaptation in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. In: Oldeland, J., Erb, C., Finckh, M. and Jürgens, N. (eds). Environmental Assessments in the Okavango Region. Biodiversity and Ecology, 5: 263–277


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Impacts of desiccation on ecosystem services and household adaptation in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Summary / Notes:

River flow and inundation of floodplains support a variety of ecosystem services in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. However, river channel desiccation occurs for a number of years or permanently, resulting in adverse impacts on ecosystem services-dependent livelihood activities. This phenomenon is caused by changes in rainfall patterns as well as by shifts in flow distribution due to a number of factors. This study has investigated the relationship between adaptation to desiccation and ecosystem services which support livelihoods in the Okavango Delta. Research methods included the use of aerial photographs and satellite images, household survey, focus group discussions, hydrological modelling and the construction of scenarios on socio-economic impacts of desiccation. The results of the study showed that desiccation adversely affects various livelihood activities, particularly those based on ecosystem services such as flood recession agriculture, livestock farming and veld products collection. It is further revealed that this phenomenon is likely to increase in frequency and intensity in the future as a result of climate change. The paper posits that adaptation policies which support diversification of livelihood activities into those which are less dependent on ecosystem services should be promoted. Keywords: Adaptation, climate variability, desiccation, ecosystem services, livelihoods, Okavango Delta.

Year: 2013

Type: Journal Article

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