2月2日nd 是世界湿地日. 在这里,地理老师 艾伦•迪克逊博士 tells us about the importance of wetl而且s 而且 how recent research in Malawi is developing new ways of sustaining their benefits for future generations… 

湿地为世界杯压球APP做过什么? 

A wetl而且 is an ecosystem that is flooded by water. The area might be permanently flooded or flood seasonally. Throughout history wetl而且s have received a bad press due to their association with diseases such as malaria, 霍乱或血吸虫病. This has often been used as a rationale for their drainage 而且 conversion to sites better suited to industrialisation, 农业与经济发展.

湿地博客1

Recent estimates suggest that around 60% of the world’s wetl而且 have been lost since 1900, 而且 in response to these losses many global conservation organisations have worked diligently over the last 50 years to protect wetl而且s 而且 their rich biodiversity.

在过去的二十年里, 然而, debates about wetl而且s have moved beyond the rather polarised thinking that pits people 而且 society against nature 而且 the environment, 而且 towards greater recognition that wetl而且s can sustain multiple societal 而且 environmental benefits that support each other.

Many wetl而且 academics 而且 policy-makers have drawn on the concept of ‘ecosystem services’ to showcase how wetl而且s can regulate climate 而且 hydrological (water) systems, 减少洪水, 碳储存, 和提供食物, 为人民提供水和文化服务. Developing ways of managing wetl而且s that balance these ecosystem services is increasingly seen as key to delivering sustainable development 而且 a win-win outcome for both people 而且 the environment.

Big challenges for people 而且 wetl而且s in Africa

 

马拉维的湿地农业
马拉维的湿地农业

Now在这里 is this need more pressing than in Africa, w在这里 wetl而且s account for around 16 per cent of the continent’s total area 而且 have, 了几千年, directly supported the livelihoods of poor people in marginal areas.

While evidence suggests that in many parts of Africa wetl而且s have been used sustainably by people for generations, pressures on wetl而且s have increased significantly in recent years. This is largely as a result of inappropriate government policies that have failed to recognise their multiple benefits, but also due to population pressure 而且 environmental change.

The effects of climate change are already being felt by the poor 而且 vulnerable across sub-Saharan Africa, 而且 in the coming years it is likely that wetl而且s will assume an even greater importance for people 而且 environmental systems. Without action to address these growing pressures, the loss of wetl而且 ecosystem services could spell disaster for those whose livelihoods depend on them.    

 

世界杯压球APP能做些什么?

A lady called Temwa is st而且ing in a welt l而且 area holding a tray of fruit
Temwa is one of many farmers working with us on sustainable wetl而且 management.

Here at the 世界杯压球APP we have been working closely with local communities 而且 non-governmental organisations in several sub-Saharan African countries to explore how wetl而且s can be managed in a sustainable manner for the future.  Our focus has been on local people themselves 而且 underst而且ing how local 知识 而且 community-based grassroots organisations can be enhanced to build positive adjustments (called "adaptive capacity") in wetl而且 management. This ensures that communities can become resilient 而且 self-sufficient, 而且 not dependent on external assistance to fulfil their livelihood needs.

In our recent three-year study of the Kankhulukulu catchment in northern Malawi we worked with a group of 20 farmers to find out how they used wetl而且s but also, 批判性的, how they wanted to improve their wetl而且-based livelihoods for the future. 在其他方面, we found that farmers understood the linkages between different wetl而且 ecosystem services, 而且 the need for sensitive resource use in the wetl而且 而且 catchment. 考虑到这一点, we supported farmers in developing 而且 implementing environmentally friendly agriculture techniques 而且 soil 而且 water conservation measures. We also helped farmers establish their own monitoring systems, 社区的条例, 银行的一个村庄, 而且 a 知识-sharing scheme that facilitated visits to other wetl而且 communities.

By the end of the project most of the farmers taking part felt they had significantly enhanced their livelihoods through the acquisition of skills, 知识, 更广泛的社交网络和金融, 而且 that this had resulted in them having more food 而且 income, as well as becoming more resilient to social 而且 environmental shocks 而且 pressures. This was all achieved without any negative environmental impact or loss of wetl而且 ecosystem services.  It was also achieved through the actions of farmers themselves; our role was merely to bring people together 而且 facilitate this process.   

 

This approach to wetl而且s 而且 their management isn’t really rocket science; rather it combines 而且 applies ideas, concepts 而且 知识 from a range of different disciplines 而且 field practice. Community-based natural resource management, participatory action research 而且 sustainable livelihood approaches, 例如, have been a mainstay of international development for many year. The concepts of the two forms of environmental planning: catchment management 而且 integrated watershed management date back to the 1980s. 然而,, it seems that within the field of wetl而且 management itself, divided ideas have hindered the emergence of more holistic ways of thinking about 而且 managing wetl而且s. 世界杯压球APP得向前看了. The global environmental challenges we face are increasingly complex, 非线性和相互联系的, 而且 they dem而且 inter- 而且 transdisciplinary solutions that consider environment-society inter-relationships at different scales with multiple stakeholders.  正如世界杯压球APP的研究显示的那样, 尽管规模很小, this route offers significant potential to achieve sustainable development.  

If you’d like to read more about our recent wetl而且s research in northern Malawi click 在这里. 

艾伦•迪克逊博士 is a Principal Lecturer in Geography 而且 teaches on our 二元同步通信地理 而且 人文地理学士课程. Each year Alan takes geography students on a two-week residential 马拉维领域课程 w在这里 they have the opportunity to talk to farmers 而且 learn first-h而且 about wetl而且s 而且 livelihoods.