The Workshop for Enhancing Collaborative Research on the Environment in Sub-Saharan Africa Arlington, Virginia usa 24-26 January 2005


Over the past decade, the Climate Modeling Laboratory at North Carolina State University (NCSU), in collaboration with the University of Nairobi, Kenya and the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), have spearheaded a number of climate research initiatives for the GHA sub-region. While the primary aim is to contribute to the development of a state-of-the-art seasonal climate prediction system for the region, the broader goals are to improve understanding, characterization and prediction of climate variability over the region on sub-seasonal, inter-annual and longer time scales. The ongoing work covers four major research areas: (i) Diagnostics based on observations and output from global climate models (GCMs). This comprises use of empirical techniques to diagnose and build predictor-predictand relationships between GHA climate and the global circulation systems and/or teleconnections such as global sea surface temperature anomalies, (2) global climate modeling, which involves GCM ensemble simulations and sensitivity experiments to study seasonal to inter-annual variability of the regional climate, (3) dynamical downscaling of GCMs using regional climate models (RCMs) and (4) development of end-user interface, via decision theory modeling.

Through rigorous empirical analysis we have demonstrated that there is a very succinct decadal trend in the regional climate over the latter decades during the last century that eluded previous studies. This trend is characterized by increasing temperatures over most of the sub-region (probably a footprint of global warming). The trend is also associated with a dipole pattern of rainfall anomalies; drier/wetter conditions over areas south/north of the equator. This is, consistent with the accelerated retreat of the snow over Mt. Kilimanjaro that falls within the drier corridor.

Our GCM ensemble simulations also demonstrate the potential of using such models to understand the variability and even make projections of the GHA climate associated with large-scale (global) climate circulation anomalies such as El Niño. This potential predictability of El Niño related climate anomalies over the GHA is particularly important given the current capability of GCMs to predict such events with lead times of up to 12 months.

In order to understand the modulating effects of the complex terrain and land surface heterogeneities on the sub-regional climate, the information resolvable by the GCMs is unsatisfactory for many applications. To this end, our dynamical downscaling efforts have culminated into the successful customization (modification) of NCAR regional climate model (RegCM3) for simulating the GHA climate. In addition, we have developed a fully coupled RegCM3-3D lake modeling system for Lake Victoria basin. It is evident from our results that for the lake basin (catchment scale) applications, the traditional modeling approach in which the lake hydrodynamics are neglected and only the lake thermodynamics are incorporated through simplified thermal diffusion formulation is not entirely satisfactory. However, the biggest constraint to many of our modeling initiatives over the GHA is inadequate validation data, especially at the catchment scale.


Forest Cover Change and its Implications to the Conservation of Forest Resources: Case Study of the Beira Corridor

A. Sitoe, B. Guedes, J. Argola, F. Tchaúque, A. Muhate and J. Monteiro

Department of Forestry, Eduardo Mondlane University, P.O. Box 257, Maputo, Mozambique


The Beira Corridor is a concept of a railway, a highway and an oil pipeline crossing four districts with several villages and towns in a distance of about 200 Km. Ecologically, the area covers several vegetation types, from mangroves to mountain forests intercalated by grasslands and different types of savanna and forests. This represents the variation of altitude ranging from sea level to about 1000 m.a.s.l. High population pressure and poverty, among other aspects result in degradation of forest resources resulting in and an A study aiming at the understanding of the forest cover conversion rates, biomass distribution and the main causes leading to forest cover change. Landsat TM images were used to estimate forest cover change between 1990 and 1999. Destructive methods were used to evaluate woody biomass in different forest types. Ground truthing were accompanied by a questionnaire to identify the major causes of forest conversion. Dependence on wood biomass for energy, slash agriculture for subsistence and uncontrolled use of fire for hunting, result in high forest conversion rates threatening the biodiversity of plant and animal species, although species were not identified at this stage. Forest conversion rate (among different vegetation cover types) was estimated at 25% per year and a deforestation (conversion from forest to non-forest) was estimated at 1.2% per year for the study period. Estimated wood biomass varied from 17 ton.ha-1 to 64 ton.ha-1. Although deforestation rate is relatively low, changes from dense forests to more open forest types may lead to local extinction of plant and animal species, with negative consequences to the local communities depending on these resources. Further studies, including the identification of species and the establishment of a transect for long term observation are suggested. Social and economic studies are also suggested.


BioNET-INTERNATIONAL: the Global Network Taxonomy for Taxonomy

Richard Smith and Lucie Rogo


BioNET-INTERNATIONAL is a donor funded, non-profit, non-governmental initiative with sub-regional inter-governmental organizations in the form of Technical Cooperation Networks. The Global Network is comprised of sub-regional Technical Cooperation Networks of developing country institutions supported by a consortium of expert institutions and a Technical Secretariat.

The sub-regional networks are technical cooperation networks based on the UNDP model and are known as Locally Owned and Operated Partnerships (LOOPs). They are permanent structures formed by intergovernmental agreement. Ten LOOPs are operational. The networks were establish to assist developing countries to overcome the taxonomic impediment by becoming self-reliant in taxonomy i.e. self-reliant in the skills, infrastructure and technologies needed to discover, identify, classify and to understand the relationships of all organisms on this planet. In addition, these networks were also established to assist developing countries to recognize and know the organisms that constitute and threaten their biodiversity, not for taxonomy’s own sake, but rather to support national programmes for sustainable agricultural development, and conservation and sustainable use of the components of the environment.

Each regional network decides its own priority activities. These typically include training, rehabilitation of taxonomic resources, effective communication within and between networks, ensuring access to new technologies and guaranteeing the sustainability of the networks.

Outputs include: new taxonomic capacity and services at the local, national and regional levels; new foci of taxonomic expertise; new access to, and new reference collections, records, information; and self reliance via local ownership of taxonomic services.

In Africa, four LOOPs have been established. These are:

EAFRINET-this network includes institutions in Eastern Africa countries;

SAFRINET- this is the Southern African network and is operated under the

auspices of SACCAR and endorsed by all SADC countries;

WAFRINET- this network includes institutions in countries in West Africa;


NAFRINET- this network includes institutions of countries in North Africa.

Development of partnerships between United States of American institutions and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa within these networks could encourage effective collaboration in research and promote capacity building in the sub-Saharan region.

Core funding for BioNET’s global secretariat has come from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation while LOOP work programmes have been undertaken with a number of technical and funding partners who will be identified in the poster presentation.


The University of Virginia ‘People, Culture and Environment of Southern Africa’ Summer Study Abroad Program – An Example of a Collaborative International Educational Program

R. J. Swap, L. Estes, H. Sabea and C. Terni

University of Virginia, USA Email:

H. Annegarn

University of Johannesburg, South Africa

C. Ford and W. Twine

University of the Witwatersrand – Johannesburg Rural Facility, South Africa

V. Netshandamu and P. Omara-Ojungu

University of Venda, South Africa

K. Vaz and N. Ribeiro

University of Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique

F. Eckardt

University of Botswana, Botswana

We describe an interdisciplinary course (Environmental Science and Anthropology) for the non-specialist undergraduate students in which students have the unique opportunity to gain insight into the role the environment plays in shaping the people and culture of southern Africa. The program builds upon more than 12 years of relationships between UVA faculty and their southern African colleagues. UVA students will interact with students and faculty from multiple institutional partners in the Southern Africa Virginia Networks and Associations (SAVANA) consortium of institutions of higher learning. Students from the USA are joined by their counterparts from universities within the consortium in the classroom, in the field and in discussions.

The program involves an intensive blend of in-class lectures (mornings) and field trips (afternoons) with daily debriefing discussions (evenings). The full days provide a comprehensive interdisciplinary introduction to the people, culture and environment of southern Africa. The UVA-SAVANA relationship offers students a chance to meet operators of game reserves, experience village life and research first-hand and to interact with local people in a way that is meaningful both for students and their hosts. The program involves students spending time at seven different locations: Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa (University of the Witwatersrand); Thohoyondou, Limpopo Province, South Africa (University of Venda); Maputo/Massengir/XaiXai, Mozambique (University of Eduardo Mondlane); and Acornhoek, Limpopo Province, South Africa (University of the Witwatersrand – Rural Facility).

The class size is kept to 12 to 15 students from the University of Virginia and about 6 African students from the Southern African Virginia Networks and Associations (SAVANA) consortium. This pairing with SAVANA students provides a unique, ‘round-the clock’ learning experience for both U.S. and southern African students.Program participants have come from a variety of undergraduate majors and student backgrounds. Among course alumni are majors in: Anthropology, African American Affairs, Architecture, Biology, English, Environmental Thought and Practice, Environmental Science, History, International Relations, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Women’s Studies. Many program participants are also active members of the University community at home, serving in student government and on the executive boards of student organizations. Participants from the 2003 South African Summer Study Abroad program created and maintain the University Giving Tree (UGT) group here on Grounds. Former participants have gone on to join Peace Corps, Teach for America, Americorps as well as to volunteer in South Africa and domestically.


Sustainable Watershed Management in Uganda: Opportunities and Challenges

M. M. Tenywa, M. J. G. Majaliwa, E. J. Wasige and A. Lufafa

Makerere University, Department of Soil Science, P. O Box 7062, Kampala-Uganda


M. K. Magunda

Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute, P.O. Box 7065 Kampala-Uganda

R. Lal

The Ohio State University, School of Natural Resources 2021 Coffey Rd. Columbus OH, USA

J. Gowing

University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Centre for Land Use and Water Resources, NEI 7RU

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

P. L. Woomer

Sustainable Agriculture Centre for Research and Development (SACRED) in Africa, P.O. Box 2275,

Bungoma, Kenya

Sub-Saharan Africa is facing declining land productivity, interalia as a result of poor land management coupled with climate variability. An over view of the efforts towards sustainable watershed management in three basins (Lake Victoria-sub-humid, Lake Kyoga-semi-arid and Mt. Elgon-humid) in Uganda is presented. Watersheds related issues investigated in the last 10 years were aimed at improving decision making processes through understanding of soil moisture deficits in the semi-arid areas, nature and magnitude of degradation in the sub-humid areas and management of watersheds that cross political boundaries in the decentralized humid districts. A combination of experimentation and modeling approach has been used. Results of the water balance from semi-arid lands revealed the major rainwater loss pathway as ET (91.2%). For the sub-humid areas the GIS-based USLE studies showed that soil loss rates are generally above the threshold of 5 t ha-1 being highest in annual cropping systems and originating from designated “hotspots” identified using AGNPS model. For the humid areas, a sub-county watershed index (SCWI) was developed to guide management of watersheds that cross-political boundaries. Given resources, plans are underway to scale up these studies across the basins using a modeling approach and develop a Decision Support System for sustainable natural resource management.


Building Central Africa's Capacity in the Understanding and Monitoring

of Forest Dynamics

D. W. Thomas, R. Condit and E. C. Losos

Center for Tropical Forest Science, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Email: duncanwt@

B. Bishaw and D. Hibbs

Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University

G. B. Chuyong

Department of Life Science, University of Buea, Cameroon

C. Ewango and D. Kenfack

Department of Botany, Missouri Botanical Garden

T. Hart and J. R. Makana

Wildlife Conservation Society, Kinshasa, D.R.Congo

The Center for Tropical Forest Science coordinates a global network of long-term research sites, two of which are located in tropical Africa: the Korup Forest Dynamics Plot in Cameroon and the Ituri Forest Dynamics Plots in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each plot program has a number of collaborating institutions and many scientists, both African and foreign. All plots in the network are linked by common field methodology and this translates into shared methods of data analysis, comparable results and highly replicable approaches for using forest dynamics in sustainable forest management. The plots are all permanent, of large size (up to 50 hectares) and are censused regularly for all trees 1.0 cm diameter and above. The CTFS approach is a very effective vehicle for training and capacity-building in central Africa, since it involves long-term association between institutions and scientists, to conduct successive plot censuses and data analyses and implement ancillary research programs.

Network activities that contribute to training and capacity-building include intensive training in data analysis and statistics and in formulating and answering questions about forest growth and diversity that are relevant to sustainable forest management. Workshops for Africa have focused on the analysis of forest plot data, on field methods for data collection and on botanical inventory methods, as well as conferences to present research findings. As layers of information are added at each plot, the sophistication of the research that can be accomplished and of the hypotheses that can be tested increases. African scientists are encourage through grants and technical support to design and implement their own research, often in collaboration with scientists from other sites.


Fire - A Key Factor in the Ecology and Management of African Grasslands

and Savannas

W. S. W. Trollope and L. A. Trollope

Department Livestock and Pasture Science, Isebe Lemfuyo Namadlelo, University Fort Hare,

Private Bag x1314, Alice, 5700 South Africa Email:,

Fire is regarded as a natural ecological factor of the environment in Africa that has been occurring since time immemorial in the savanna and grassland areas of the continent. The capacity of Africa to support fire stems from the fact that it is highly prone to lightning storms and has an ideal fire climate comprising dry and wet periods. It also has the most extensive area of tropical savanna in the worldwhich is characterised by a grassy understorey that becomes extremely inflammable during the dry season. The use of fire in the management of vegetation for both domestic livestock systems and in wildlife management is widely recognised. Research on the effects of fire has been conducted throughout the grassland and savanna areas of Africa since the early period of the twentieth century and focused on the effects of season and frequency of burning on the forage production potential of the grass sward and the ratio of bush to grass in African savannas. However, in 1971 a conference was convened in the United States of America by the Tall Timbers Research Station at Tallahassee in Florida on the theme of "Fire in Africa.” This congress was attended by fire ecologists from throughout Africa and the major benefit that accrued from attending this meeting was the realization that in Africa the study of fire behaviour and its effects on the ecosystem, as described by type and intensity of fire, had been largely ignored in all the fire research that had been conducted up until that time. This led to the further recognition that the effects of fire must include the effects of all the components of the fire regime on the ecosystem viz., the type and intensity of fire and the season and frequency of burning. As a consequence a research program was initiated in South Africa in 1972 and later extended to East Africa in 1992, to characterise the behaviour of fires burning in savanna and grassland vegetation and determine the effect of type and intensity of fire on the vegetation. This research program has successfully developed a greater understanding into the effects of type and intensity of fire in African grasslands and savannas. This in turn has led to the development of more effective and practical guidelines for the fire regimes to be used in controlled burning for domestic livestock and wildlife management systems in the grassland and savanna areas. Research on the fire ecology of grasslands and savannas continues to enjoy scientific attention in Africa and currently there are active research programs being conducted in the Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal Province and the Kruger National Park in South Africa and the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.


Making Digital Science Productive and Meaningful in the Developing World

Paul F. Uhlir, Julie M. Esanu and Amy Franklin

Office of International Scientific and Technical Information Programs, The National Academies Email:

The digital revolution is fundamentally transforming not only the conduct of scientific research, but virtually all spheres of human endeavor worldwide. The extent and rapidity of this change offers unprecedented opportunities for creating, managing, disseminating and using scientific and technical (SandT) data and information. It also raises new challenges that need to be confronted. Many opportunities arise in the evolving “information societies” and “knowledge economies,” whether through data-intensive research and applications, in the conversion of data into higher levels of information and knowledge, or by making vast amounts of factual and scholarly information available for a broad spectrum of end users. The inherent challenges are in effectively managing these information resources for optimal access and use and for developing rational rules and structures for that process. 

Not surprisingly, developing countries face the highest hurdles and in many respects have the greatest information management and access requirements. Factual databases and the scientific literature provide important research, socio-economic and policy tools for these countries, just as they do in more economically developed nations. Digital (SandT) data and information and the underlying ICT infrastructure form an essential resource for capacity building in science and education and for successfully addressing pressing social problems, supporting sustainable development of commerce and industry and promoting good governance. The greater the access to digital resources, the greater the potential uses and value that can be derived from them.

Without the means to effectively develop, preserve, access and use foundational databases and the scientific literature, as well as other key elements of the modern ICT infrastructure, developing countries are almost certain to fall further behind in their quest to reap the benefits of the digital revolution. Although in many cases this is happening today, it is not an inevitable outcome. The possibilities to leapfrog into state-of-the-art information infrastructure and management practices are not necessarily as remote as they may seem. This is particularly true for those countries that have a strong educational foundation and stable governance. Positive examples and success stories continue to multiply. Yet there are insufficient activities focusing on these problems at both the national and international levels. Working to resolve the many different challenges in this arena today will produce significant intellectual capital—with great return on investment—for future generations.

Toward these ends, the National Academies’ Office of International Scientific and Technical Information Programs is focused on improving the management, accessibility and use of SandT data and information by the research community worldwide. Particular emphasis is placed on the situation in developing countries and on promoting appropriate national and international policy measures in support of these objectives. The attention to developing countries is not simply a matter of altruism, but equally one of self-interest, since science is inherently an international endeavor. This poster will summarize our portfolio of developing country activities in the digital information arena.


Ecoinformatics Training: Toward Data Sharing and Collaborative Research

Kristin Vanderbilt

Sevilleta LTER, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131


Ecological research encompasses a range of themes including biodiversity, global change and sustainability that require data be obtained and synthesized across larger temporal and spatial scales than traditional plot-based ecological studies. One way ecologists are beginning to address questions at this scale is through collaborative international research programs. This kind of collaboration requires not only communication of verbal and written correspondence but communication of data and methodologies across spatial, disciplinary and cultural distance as well.

Good data management procedures and protocols will be essential to developing and testing hypotheses at the international network level. Data management in large-scale projects provides the quality assurance, documentation and accessibility that make data communication and exchange possible. Data management also provides long-term value to the data by assuring that archived data can be retrieved and understood by investigators in the future. Training programs in effective data management facilitate better research and increases productivity through the development of practical solutions and adoption of standards.

The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Data Management group has accumulated over two decades of experience in managing ecological data and has established protocols and standards in this area. Members of this group have facilitated information management training sessions for several international audiences, including a group of scientists and technicians from ELTOSA who met in Mozambique in 2002. These training workshops have emphasized the basic components of an information management system, which include detailed data documentation (metadata), quality assurance and quality control, data archival and mechanisms for the discovery and retrieval of archived data. Training workshops such as these help scientists without an information management background to acquire the basic skills necessary to establish a system for documenting, storing and making their data available to other researchers in order to foster collaborative research.


Impacts of Land Cover Change along the Tanzania Coast: A Case Study of

Geographic Information for Sustainable Development

Y.Q. (Yeqiao) Wang, Gregory Bonynge, Jarunee Nugranad and Michael Traber

Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA


Vedast Makota

National Environment Management Council, P.O. Box, 63154, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Amani Ngusaru

Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam, P.O. Box 668, Zanzibar, Tanzania

James Tobey

Coastal Resource Center, University of Rhode Island Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI 02882, USA

Tanzania coastal line is a representative section of Eastern African coast. It extends 840 km from Kenyan to Mozambique and is biologically and physically varied. Tanzania coastal area is experiencing rapid land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) as the result of population growth, urban development and intensified agriculture and mariculture. Spatial information on LULCC is in great demand for coastal management. In this project remotely sensed images from 1990s Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and 2000 Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensors and geographic information system (GIS) technologies are applied to discern LULCC in coastal districts of Tanzania. Results of change detection show that areas of urban land increased dramatically. Areas of mangrove forests declined modestly, but field verification shows severe deterioration of their conditions near urban areas. While the areas of dense woodland decreased, the areas of open woodland and the areas of woodland interspersed with agriculture increased. This study answered key management questions; built capacity for use of science and spatial information in management; and identified priority locations for coastal planning and conservation. There is an increasing need for the use of science-based decisions for policy making in Tanzania. Coastal and natural resource managers in particular have recognized the value of this type of information for resource management and sustainable development. This reflects the level of attention given to scientific and technological issues in general on the part of coastal management professionals. The integrative quality of geographic information that links social, economic and environmental data opens new opportunities for collaboration among natural scientists, social scientists and decision-makers at all levels. The intersection of resource use, land-cover change, poverty and environmental management, with their attendant social and economic consequences, are at the forefront of coastal and marine management in Tanzania. Successful implementation of recent national priorities addressing poverty alleviation and integrated coastal management require objective scientific information to assist with developing policy priorities, understanding cause and effect linkages between human activities and ecosystem changes, formulating management strategies and devising conservation measures. The results from this study demonstrate and encourage on the use of geospatial technologies and information in environmental and natural resources monitoring. It also provides comprehensive scientific data for further studies of environmental impacts of human-induced LULCC on the near-shore coastal ecosystems of the Eastern Africa.


Africa and the Global Carbon Cycle: Field Networks and Model Studies of African Carbon Exchange

Christopher A. Williams, Niall Hanan and A. Scott Denning

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, Email:

Joseph Berry

Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford, CA

Robert Scholes

CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa

Jason Neff

University of Colorado, Boulder

Jeffrey Privette

NASA-GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

Two new initiatives seek to improve our understanding of carbon exchange and land surface atmosphere interactions in African ecosystems at time scales encompassing hourly to multi-annual and space scales from sub-landscape to continental.

The Afriflux project seeks to develop a network of scientists and students interested in ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide, water and other trace gases in African ecosystems. Afriflux will enhance our understanding of African ecosystems, the determinants of productivity and biogeochemical cycles, the supply of ecosystem goods and services and the interactions between African vegetation and regional and global climate. Several eddy flux sites are established in Africa and more are planned and the network is designed to solidify collaboration and synthesis among these groups. The major emphases of the network include workshops focusing on joint data analysis, graduate student exchanges and capacity building that will enhance long-term collaboration and integration of understanding among and between the diverse African landscapes.

The African Carbon Exchange project (ACE) is designed to improve our understanding of regional and global carbon dynamics through an inter-annual study focused on Africa. ACE will utilize an array of techniques to understand how climate variability and human activities affect continental-scale carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. We are using a combination of methods to provide more tightly constrained estimates of the spatial and temporal variation in carbon uptake and release from the region. The project builds on data and understanding from intensive field sites in the region (the Afriflux network) and will add targeted measurements for the purposes of this work. Satellite data will be used to estimate the spatial and temporal variation in vegetation activity at weekly to multi-annual time-scales across the continent. These data are being used to parameterize terrestrial carbon balance models that predict spatially and temporally continuous fields of net carbon, water and stable isotope exchange. In parallel with this “forward modeling” we plan inverse analysis of [CO2] and stable isotope concentrations, using the existing flask measurement network augmented by new high precision [CO2] measurements. The novel combination of forward and inverse estimates of African carbon exchange will lead to improved estimates of the spatial and temporal dynamics of carbon and water exchange in Africa and lead to an improved understanding of the impacts of climate, climate variability and land use on carbon exchange and the contributions of Africa to the global carbon cycle.


Impact of Agricultural Techniques on Wetland Processes - Uganda, Africa: Treatment Reliability and Hydraulic Strategies

Chad Yaindl, Rachael Oleski, Roger Ruggles, David Brandes and Arthur D. Kney

Lafayette College

Lammeck Kajubi

Makerere University

Over the past ten years Lake Victoria in Africa, the second largest freshwater lake in the world has begun to show signs of stress due to anthropogenic influence documented by indicators such as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and various nutrients (i.e., nitrogen and phosphorous). The increased concentrations of the nutrients may help to explain the increased growth of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). In addition, metals such as lead and cadmium have been reported at levels of concern in Lake Victoria.

To address these issues of increasing pollutants in and around Lake Victoria a cooperative study between Makerere University, Uganda, Africa and Lafayette College, Easton PA, USA, has been established through a National Science Foundation (NSF) program - International Opportunities for Scientists and Engineers Program (IOSEP). The overall study consists of four components:

  1. A study of transition through a historical assessment of land use utilizing remotely sensed images

  2. Rapid monitoring of the wetland-lake interface on Lake Victoria

  3. Comprehensive chemical, hydrologic and sedimentation assessment of selected Kampala and Jinja, Uganda wetlands.

  4. Wetland construction research examining innovative agricultural techniques, treatment reliability and hydrologic strategies.

This particular study, the impact of agricultural techniques on wetland processes, addresses components 3 and 4 of the overall IOSEP study. Based on observations made by our Makerere/Lafayette team over the summer of 2003 it appears that many of the inland wetlands adjoining the towns of Kampala and Jinja, Uganda are being increasingly used for agricultural purposes. Because of this practice it is hypothesized that this valuable natural pretreatment infrastructure (i.e., wetlands) is being affected in such a way that the primary wetland buffers along the shores of Lake Victoria are unable to handle the typical pollutant loads as in the past, thus leading to increased loading of the lake. It remains unclear as to how the alteration of these inland wetlands is affecting the overall treatment of runoff entering Lake Victoria.

Over the summer of 2004 a team of faculty and students from both Makerere began to study the affect agricultural practice has on inland wetlands. Influent and effluent samples were taken from undisturbed and disturbed wetlands of similar size, age and influent characteristics anywhere from 2 to 4 times over the summer. Sampling parameters include chemical oxygen demand (COD), nitrogen (as N), phosphorous (as P), pH, conductivity and turbidity. Results were analyzed and recommendations for further study were developed. Recommendations include considerations of integrating agricultural practices that address hydraulic strategies and treatment reliability.


An Integrative Approach to Understanding Biodiversity in Madagascar

Anne D. Yoder and Carol Hanley

Yale University Email:

Achille Raselimanana

WWF Madagasar

Steven M. Goodman

Field Museum of Natural History, WWF Madagascar and Université d’Antananarivo

Madagascar has been designated as one of the most critical geographic priorities for conservation action, retaining less than 10% of the natural habitats that existed before human colonization. It is critical that information be obtained as quickly as possible to document the biota that occurs in the remaining and highly threatened forested areas of Madagascar, to gain an understanding of the evolutionary processes and associated distributional patterns that have shaped this diversity and to use this information to help set conservation priorities. Together with a host of Malagasy and American students and collaborators, we are taking an approach to biodiversity documentation and investigation that integrates field and lab activities. Typically, our studies begin with biological inventory in the field, followed by detailed morphological and natural history investigations. Genetic samples are then processed to test the predictions derived from the field investigations. Genetic analyses are performed to verify the status of new and previously-described species and to identify the historical biogeographic forces that influence their distribution in time and space. We will highlight studies from a number of vertebrate taxa including mouse lemurs, trident bats, carnivorans and plated lizards. These studies have revealed remarkable levels of species richness, patterns of geographic microendemism and unexpected biogeographic structuring of species and populations that in some cases contradict expectations based on climate and ecology. All studies are conducted as collaborations among American and Malagasy scholars. As part of these activities, the Yoder Lab has operated a summer training program for the past 5 years in phylogenetic and conservation genetic methods for Malagasy students. Goodman has coordinated the Ecology Training Program (ETP) of WWF-Madagascar for over a decade. The basic objectives of the ETP are: 1) train Malagasy scientists in order to advance biological, ecological and conservation policy-making, 2) provide academic and research opportunities for promising Malagasy students and researchers, 3) facilitate communication and exchange in the fields of biology and ecology amongst Malagasy students and researchers and 4) furnish logistical, financial and supervisory support to Malagasy students in fields related to conservation in collaboration with local universities. All participants in our integrative program aim to apply the biological insights and analytical methods towards setting and implementing conservation priorities in Madagascar.


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