Threats to sustainable utilization of wetland resources in ZIMBABWE: a review

Abstract

Wetlands are some of the most productive natural ecosystems in Zimbabwe as they provide a wide range of goods and services. The article examines spatial and temporal changes in wetland utilization patterns as well as threats to these fragile ecosystems and proffers suggestions to achieve sustainable use of wetlands. Literature on wetland use shows that cultivation (73%) and livestock grazing (36%) are the dominant wetland use activities in Zimbabwe. Combined with urban housing development, these land uses are the biggest contributors to wetland degradation and loss. About 57% and 27% of wetlands are in the moderately and severely degraded categories respectively. However, the effect of land uses, especially cultivation, on wetland ecology, is heterogeneous. Livestock grazing changes vegetation structure and composition and, ultimately, disturbs the wetland’s hydrology. Settlement establishment results in the disappearance of the wetland ecosystem. Considering that the two dominant land uses, cultivation and livestock grazing, are cornerstones of rural economies, there is need for further research to understand spatial variations on the impacts of similar land uses on different wetland types in different geographical settings. Therefore, further research should be done to understand the sustainability of human land uses on different wetland types, depending on their hydrogeomorphic characteristics, in order to continually promote sustainable development of the dependent societies.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Source Adapted from Chabwela 1991 as cited in Matiza (1992)

Fig. 3

Source EMA (2015)

Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Bullock A (1992a) The role of dambos in determining river flow regimes in Zimbabwe. J Hydrol 134:349–372

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bullock A (1992b) Dambo hydrology in southern Africa - review and reassessment. J Hydrol 134:373–396

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bullock A, McCartney MP (1995) Wetland and river interactions in Zimbabwe. Trop Hydrol 238:305–321

    Google Scholar 

  4. Chikodzi D, Mapfaka LY (2018a) Spatio-temporal variations of wetlands in Masvingo district of Zimbabwe and influences of climate change and variability. J Clim Chan 4:235–247

    Google Scholar 

  5. Chikodzi D, Mufori RC (2018b) Wetland fragmentation and key drivers: a case of Murewa District of Zimbabwe. J Environ Sci Toxicol Food Technol 12(9):49–61

    Google Scholar 

  6. Chimbindi F (2018) Land ownership in Zimbabwe: factsheet. Zimfact, https://zimfact.org/factsheet-land-ownership-in-zimbabwe/

  7. Chimhiti N (2019) The effects of grazing encroachment on plant species density and invasive species infestation in Magwenzi wetland, Chivi district. MSc thesis, Midlands State University

  8. Chiputwa B, Morardet S, Mano R (2006) Diversity of wetland-based livelihoods in Limpopo River Basin. In: 7th Waternet Symposium “Mainstreaming IWRM in the Development Process,” Lilongwe, Malawi, 1–3 November 2006. Amsterdam, Netherlands: WaterNet. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/21599

  9. Chirara C (2011) The status of the Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus in the Driefontein Grasslands of Zimbabwe. J BirdL Zim Honeyguide 57(1):10–14

    Google Scholar 

  10. Chuma E, Masiyandima M, Finlayson M, McCartney M, Jogo W (2008) Guideline for sustainable wetland management and utilization: Key cornerstones. CPWF Project Report. Colombo, Sri Lanka: CGIAR Challenge Programme on Water and Food. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/21605

  11. Dahwa E, Kativu S, Hungwe T, Mudzengi CP, Poshiwa X, Murungweni C, Shoko MD (2014) Influence of grazing intensity on plant community diversity, structure and composition in Dambo wetlands of communal Zimbabwe. Glob J Biol Agric Health Sci 3(1):259–266

    Google Scholar 

  12. Davidson NC, Fluet-Chouinard E, Finlayson CM (2018) Global extent and distribution of wetlands: trends and issues. Mar Freshw Res. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17019

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Dixon MJR, Loh J, Davidson NC, Beltrame C, Freeman R, Walpole M (2016) Tracking global change in ecosystem area: the wetland extent trends index. Biol Conserv 193:27–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2015.10.023

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Dodds WK, Perkin JS, Gerke JE (2013) Human impact on freshwater ecosystem services: a global perspective. Environ Sci Technol 47(16):9061–9068. https://doi.org/10.1021/es4021052

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Dube T (2005) The impact of communal land use on dambos in Lower Gweru, Zimbabwe. Dissertation, University of Zimbabwe

  16. Dube T, Chitiga M (2011) Human impacts on macrophyte diversity, water quality and some soil properties in the Madikane and Dufuya wetlands of Lower Gweru, Zimbabwe. J Appl Ecol Environ Res 9:85–99

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. DuToit RF (1994) Mid-Zambezi and Manna pools: ecology and conservation status. In: Matiza T, Crafter SA (eds) Proceedings of a seminar on Wetland, Ecology and priorities for Conservation in Zimbabwe. IUCN, Harare, pp 35–42

  18. Environmental Management Agency (2015) Annual Report. Government of Zimbabwe, Harare

    Google Scholar 

  19. Erwin KL (2009) Wetlands and global climate change: the role of wetland restoration in a changing world. Wetl Ecol Manag 17(1):71–84

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Fakarayi T, Mashapa C, Gandiwa E, Kativu S (2015) Pattern of land-use and land cover changes in Driefontein Grassland Important Bird Area, Zimbabwe. J Trop Cons Sci 8(1):274–283

    Google Scholar 

  21. Fakarayi T, Mashapa C, Gandiwa E, Kativu S (2016) Varying land-use has an influence on Wattled and Grey Crowned Cranes' abundance and distribution in Driefontein Grasslands Important Bird Area, Zimbabwe. PLoS ONE 11:e0166209. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166209

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  22. Finlayson CM, Pollard S (2009) A framework for undertaking wetland inventory assessment and monitoring in the Limpopo Basin Southern Africa. CPWF Project Report. Colombo, Sri Lanka: CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food

  23. Finlayson CM, Davis JA, Gell PA, Kingsford RT, Parton KA (2013) The status of wetlands and the predicted effects of global climate change: the situation in Australia. Aquat Sci 75(1):1–21

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Firth CR, Whitlow R (1991) Patterns of gullying in Zimbabwe. GeoJournal 23:59–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Frenken K, Mharapara I (eds) (2002) Wetland development and management in SADC countries. FAO Sub-Regional Office for East and Southern Africa, Harare

    Google Scholar 

  26. Gardner RC, Barchiesi S, Beltrame C, Finlayson CM, Galewski T, Harrison I, Paganini M, Perennou C, Pritchard DE, Rosenqvist A, Walpole M (2015) State of the world’s wetlands and their Services to People: a compilation of recent analyses. Ramsar Briefing Note no. 7. Gland, Switzerland: Ramsar Convention Secretariat

  27. Goudie AS (1991) Pans. Prog Phys Geogr 15(3):221–237. https://doi.org/10.1177/030913339101500301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Goudie AS, Thomas DSG (1985) Pans in southern Africa with particular reference to South Africa and Zimbabwe. Zeitschrift für Geomorphol 29:1–19

    Google Scholar 

  29. Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) (2015) Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Ministry of Environment Water and Climate, Harare

  30. Hove C, Chapungu L (2013) Human perceptions on degradation of wetland ecosystems: the case of Magwenzi Wetland in Chivi District, Zimbabwe. Green J Geol Earth Sci 1(1):13–22

    Google Scholar 

  31. Jogo W, Hassan R (2010) Balancing the use of wetlands for economic well-being and ecological security: the case of the Limpopo wetland in southern Africa. Ecol Econ 69(7):1569–1579

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Junk WJ, An S, Finlayson CM, Gopal B, Květ J, Mitchell SA, Mitsch WJ, Robarts RD (2013) Current state of knowledge regarding the world’s wetlands and their future under global climate change: a synthesis. J Aquat sci 75(1):151–167

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Kadziya L, Chikosha F (2013) Wetlands and Urban Growth in Bindura, Zimbabwe. Gr J Environ Manag Pub Saf 2(6):195–196

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Kotze DC (2011) The application of a framework for assessing ecological condition and sustainability of use to three wetlands in Malawi. Wetl Ecol Manag 19(6):507–520

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Kotze DC (2013) Assessing the ecological sustainability of wetland cultivation: experiences from Malawi and Zambia. In: Wood A, Dixon A, McCartney (eds) Wetland management and sustainable livelihoods in Africa. Earth scan, London

  36. Kotze DC, Ellery WN, Macfarlane DM, Jewitt CPW (2012) A rapid assessment method for coupling anthropogenic stressors and wetland ecological condition. J Ecol Indic 13(1):284–293

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Madebwe V, Madebwe C (2005) An exploratory analysis of the social, economic and environmental impacts on wetlands: the Case of Shurugwi District, Midlands Province, Zimbabwe. J Appl Sci Res 1(2):228–233

    Google Scholar 

  38. Mahlatini P, Hove A, Maguma AF, Chemura A (2018) Using direct use values for economic valuation of wetland ecosystem services: a case of Songore wetland, Zimbabwe. GeoJournal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-018-9947-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Mandishona E, Knight J (2019) Users’ perceptions and understanding of two urban wetlands in Harare, Zimbabwe. S Afr Geogr J 101(3):326–348

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Marambanyika T, Beckedahl H (2016a) Wetland utilisation patterns in semi-arid communal areas of Zimbabwe between 1985 and 2013 and the associated benefits to livelihoods of the surrounding communities. Trans R Soc S Afr. https://doi.org/10.1080/0035919X.2016.1152520

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Marambanyika T, Beckedahl H (2016b) The missing link between awareness and the implementation of wetland policy and legislation in communal areas of Zimbabwe. Wetl Ecol Manag 24(5):545–563

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Marambanyika T, Beckedahl H (2016c) Institutional arrangements governing wetland utilization and conservation in communal areas of Zimbabwe. Rev Soc Sci 2(1):1–17

    Google Scholar 

  43. Marambanyika T, Sibanda M (2019) Assessing the drivers of wetland changes in areas associated with wildlife-based tourism activities in Zimbabwe. IntechOpen, London. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.80513

  44. Marambanyika T, Mutsiwegota C, Muringaniza KCR (2012) Importance of community participation in sustainable utilization of wetlands: case of Chebvute in Zvishavane District of Zimbabwe. J Environ Sci Eng B1:832–844

    Google Scholar 

  45. Marambanyika T, Beckedahl H, Ngetar NS, Dube T (2016a) Assessing the environmental sustainability of cultivation systems in wetlands using the WET-health framework in Zimbabwe. J Phys Geogr 38(1):62–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Marambanyika T Beckedahl H, Ngetar NS (2016b) Community strategies to promote sustainable wetland-based food security in rural areas of Zimbabwe. GeoJournal 82(5):987–1003

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Matamanda AR, Chirisa I, Mukamuri BB, Kaduwo P, Mhlanga M (2018) Harare’s deteriorating wetlands: Why sound policies and legislations are not enough. Case Stud Environ 2(1):5–11

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Matiza T (1992) Wetlands in Zimbabwe: an overview. In: Matiza, T and Crafter SA (eds) Wetlands Ecology and Priorities for Conservation in Zimbabwe: Proceedings of a Seminar on Wetlands of Zimbabwe. IUCN, Harare, pp 3–10

  49. Matiza T, Crafter SA (eds) (1994) Wetlands ecology and priorities for conservation in Zimbabwe: proceedings of a seminar on wetlands of Zimbabwe. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

  50. Maseko PZ, Bussink M (1995) Wetlands and water harvesting as resources in communal farmers’ food security. In: Owen R (ed), Proceedings for a workshop on dambo farming in Zimbabwe: water management, cropping and soil potentials for smallholder farming in the wetlands, University of Zimbabwe Publications, Harare, pp 54–67

  51. Mazvimavi D (2008) Investigating possible changes of extreme annual rainfall in Zimbabwe. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci Discuss 5(4):1765–1785

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Mazvimavi D (2010) Investigating changes over time of annual rainfall in Zimbabwe. J Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 14(12):2671–2679

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Mbereko A, Chimbari MJ (2007) Mukamuri BB (2007) An analysis of institutions associated with wetlands use, access and management in communal areas of Zimbabwe: a case study of Zungwi vlei. Zvishavane Phys chem earth Parts A/B/C 32(15–18):1291–1299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pce.2007.07.038

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Mbereko A, Mukamuri BB, Chimbari MJ (2015) Exclusion and contests over wetlands used for farming in Zimbabwe: a case study of broad-ridge and broad-furrow tillage system on Zungwi Vlei. J Pol Ecol 21:322–338

    Google Scholar 

  55. McCartney M, Rebelo LM, Sellamuttu SS, De Silva S (2010) Wetlands, agriculture and poverty reduction. Integrated Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute. 39p. (IWMI Research Report 137). https://doi.org/10.5337/2010.230

  56. McFarlane MJ, Whitlow R (1990) Key factors affecting the initiation and progress of gullying in dambos in parts of Zimbabwe. Land Degrad Devel 2:215–235

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Mharapara IM (1995) A fundamental approach to dambo utilization. In: Owen R, Verbeek K, Jackson J, Steenhuis T (eds) Dambo farming in Zimbabwe: Water management, cropping and soil potentials for smallholder farming in the wetlands: University of Zimbabwe Publications, Harare, pp 1–8

  58. Mharapara IM, Munema MD, Mkwanda R (1998) Experiences on wetland characterization, classification, management and utilization for agricultural development in Zimbabwe: a case for wetland research. In: FAO (eds) Wetland characterization and classification for sustainable agricultural development. FAO Sub-Regional Office for East and Southern Africa, Harare, https://www.fao.org/3/x6611e/x6611e02g.htm#P2953_161946

  59. Mhlanga B, Maruziva R, Buka L (2014) Mapping wetland characteristics for sustainable development in Harare: the case of Borrowdale West, Highlands, National Sports Stadium and Mukuvisi Woodlands Wetlands, Ethiop. J Environ Stud Manag 7:488–498

    Google Scholar 

  60. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being. Island press, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  61. Msipa M (2009) Land use changes between 1972 and 2008 and current water quality of wetlands in Harare, Zimbabwe. Dissertation, University of Zimbabwe

  62. Mugandani R, Wuta M, Makarau A, Chipindu B (2012) Reclassification of agro-ecological regions of Zimbabwe in conformity with climate variability and change. J Afr Crop Sci 20(2):361–369

    Google Scholar 

  63. Murombedzi JC (1994) Wetlands conservation under common property management regimes in Zimbabwe. In: Matiza T, Crafter SA (ed) Wetlands ecology and priorities for conservation in Zimbabwe: proceedings of a seminar on wetlands ecology and priorities for conservation in Zimbabwe. IUCN, Gland, pp 113–121

  64. Murungweni FM (2013) Effect of land use change on quality of urban wetlands: a case of Monavale wetland in Harare. Geoinfor Geostat: an overviewhttps://doi.org/10.4172/2327-4581.S1-015

  65. Mutambikwa A, Barton AP, Ellis-Jones J, Mashingaidze AB, Riches C, Chivinge O (2001) Soil and water management options for seasonal wetlands (Vleis) in semi-arid areas of Masvingo province, Zimbabwe. Seventh Eastern and Southern Africa regional maize conference, 11–15 Feb 2011, pp 274–280

  66. Mutisi L, Nhamo G (2015) Blue in the green economy: land use change and wetland shrinkage in Belvedere North and Epworth localities, Zimbabwe. J Pub Admin 50(1):108–124

    Google Scholar 

  67. Ndhlovu N (2012) A preliminary assessment of the wetland biological integrity in relation to land use: a case of the Intunjambili Wetland, Matobo District, Zimbabwe. University of Zimbabwe, Harare

    Google Scholar 

  68. Ndiweni NJ, Gwate O (2013) Public perceptions of climate variability risks on wetland management: a case of ward 15 of Matobo North District, Zimbabwe. Asian J Soc Sci Hum 3(1):28–38

    Google Scholar 

  69. Nyamadzawo G, Wuta M, Nyamangara J, Nyamugafata P, Chirinda N (2015) Optimizing dambo (seasonal wetland) cultivation for climate change adaptation and sustainable crop production in the smallholder farming areas of Zimbabwe. Int J Agric Sust 13(1):23–39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Phethi MD, Gumbo JR (2019) Assessment of impact of land use change on the wetland in Makhitha village, Limpopo province, South Africa. Jamba. https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i2.693

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  71. Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (2018) Global wetland outlook: state of the world’s wetlands and their services to people. Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland

    Google Scholar 

  72. Ramsar Convention Secretariat (2007a) Wise use of wetlands: a conceptual framework for the wise use of wetlands. Ramsar handbooks for the wise use of wetlands, 3rd edn, vol 1. Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland, Switzerland.

  73. Ramsar Convention Secretariat (2007b) River basin management: integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management, Ramsar Handbooks for the Wise Use of Wetlands, vol. 7, in Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland, Switzerland, p 62

  74. Rebelo LM, McCartney MP, Finlayson CM (2010) Wetlands of Sub-Saharan Africa: distribution and contribution of agriculture to livelihoods. Wetl Ecol Manag 18(5):557–572

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Sakané N, Alvarez M, Becker M, Böhme B, Handa C, Kamiri HW, Van Wijk MT (2011) Classification, characterisation, and use of small wetlands in East Africa. Wetlands 31:1103–1116

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Schuijt K (2002) Land and water use of wetlands in Africa: Economic values of African wetlands. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/id/eprint/6723/1/IR-02-063.pdf

  77. Sellamuttu SS, Silva SD, Nagabhatla N, Finlayson CM, Pattanaik C, Prasad N (2012) The Ramsar Convention's wise use concept in theory and practice: an inter-disciplinary investigation of practice in Kolleru Lake, India. J Int Wildl Law Poly 15(3–4):228–250

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Sithole A, Goredema B (2013) Building in wetlands to meet the housing demand and urban growth in Harare. Int J Hum Soc Sci 3(8):193–201

    Google Scholar 

  79. Svotwa E, Manyanhaire IO, Makombe P (2008) Sustainable gardening on wetlands in the communal lands of Zimbabwe. Elec J Environ Agric Food Chem 7(3):2754–2760

    Google Scholar 

  80. Timberlake J (2000) Biodiversity of the Zambezi basin. Biodiversity Foundation for Africa, Bulawayo

    Google Scholar 

  81. Walters DJJ, Kotze DC, O’Connor TG (2006) Impact of land use on vegetation composition, diversity, and selected soil properties of wetlands in the southern Drakensberg mountains, South Africa. Wetl Ecol Manag 14:329–348. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-005-4990-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Whitlow R (1990) Conservation status of wetlands in Zimbabwe: past and present. GeoJournal 20(3):191–202

    Article  Google Scholar 

  83. Whitlow R (1992) Gullying within wetlands in Zimbabwe: an examination of conservation history and spatial patterns. S Afr Geogr J 74:54–62

    Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Whitlow R (1994a) Gullying within wetlands in Zimbabwe: morphological characteristics of gullies. S Afr Geogr J 76:11–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  85. Whitlow R (1994b) Gullyng within wetlands in Zimbabwe; gully development and factors influencing gully growth. S Afr Geogr J 76:41–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  86. Whitlow JR (2003) Conservation Status of Wetlands in Zimbabwe, Past and Present. University of Zimbabwe, Harare

    Google Scholar 

  87. Xu T, Weng B, Yan D, Wang K, Li X, Bi W, Li M, Cheng X, Liu Y (2019) Wetlands of international importance: Status, threats, and future protection. Int J Environ Res Public Health. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101818

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  88. Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (2015) Poverty atlas map. Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, Harare

    Google Scholar 

  89. Zinhiva H, Chikodzi D, Mutowo G, Ndhlovu S, Mazambara P (2014) The Implications for loss and degradation of wetland ecosystems on sustainable rural livelihoods: case of Chingombe community, Zimbabwe. Green J Environ Manag Pub Saf 3(2):43–52

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank anonymous reviewers for helping to improve the quality of this manuscript.

Funding

This article is part of study that is being funded by the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Services for Transboundary Basins of Southern Africa (WeMAST) Project funded under GMES and Africa programme.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tatenda Musasa.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Musasa, T., Marambanyika, T. Threats to sustainable utilization of wetland resources in ZIMBABWE: a review. Wetlands Ecol Manage (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-020-09732-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Wetland ecosystem
  • Land use change
  • Sustainability
  • Wise use
  • Wetland utilization