The Wetland Book pp 1217-1232 | Cite as

Zambezi River Basin

  • Matthew McCartney
  • Richard D. Beilfuss
  • Lisa-Maria Rebelo
Reference work entry

Abstract

More than 4.7% of the Zambezi River Basin is wetlands, several of which individually cover areas in excess of 1,000 km2. The basin contains 13 Ramsar Sites and thousands of lesser known wetlands. It is estimated that 20 million people (ca. 50% of the basin population) live in the vicinity of wetlands largely because of the wide range of ecosystem services, they provide, including support to fisheries, livestock and other forms of agriculture, as well as tourism. The wetlands also support considerable biodiversity, influence the hydrology of the basin and play an important role in the economies of the riparian countries. Currently there are a number of threats to the basin wetlands, including inappropriate agricultural practices, altered hydrology due to hydropower dams and overfishing. Increased irrigation and climate change are likely to add to future stresses on wetlands. However, careful planning and management, including coordinated releases from hydropower dams, could safeguard and rejuvenate many wetlands in the basin.

Keywords

Biodiversity Dambo Hydrology Livelihoods Ecosystem services Agriculture fIsheries 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew McCartney
    • 1
    • 3
  • Richard D. Beilfuss
    • 4
    • 5
  • Lisa-Maria Rebelo
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Ecosystem ServicesInternational Water Management InstituteVientianeLao People’s Democratic Republic
  2. 2.Water FuturesInternational Water Management InstituteVientianeLao People’s Democratic Republic
  3. 3.Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the MekongInternational Water Management InstituteVientianeLao People’s Democratic Republic
  4. 4.International Crane FoundationBarabooUSA
  5. 5.College of EngineeringUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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