Sustainability in the Food-Water-Ecosystem Nexus // The Role of Land Use and Land Cover Change for Water Resources and Ecosystems in the Kilombero Wetland, Tanzania
By Constanze Leemhuis, Frank Thonfeld, Kristian Näschen, Stefanie Steinbach, Javier Muro, Adrian Strauch, Ander López, Giuseppe Daconto, Ian Games and Bernd Diekkrüger. Land Use Land Cover Change (LULCC) has a significant impact on water resources and ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). On the basis of three research projects we aim to describe and discuss the potential, uncertainties, synergies and science-policy interfaces of satellite-based integrated research for the Kilombero catchment, comprising one of the major agricultural utilized floodplains in Tanzania.
LULCC was quantified at the floodplain and catchment scale analyzing Landsat 5 and Sentinel 2 satellite imagery applying different adapted classification methodologies. LULC maps at the catchment scale serve as spatial input for the distributed, process-based ecohydrological model SWAT (Soil Water Assessment Tool) simulating the changes in the spatial and temporal water balance in runoff components caused by LULCC.
The results reveal that over the past 26 years LULCC has significantly altered the floodplain and already shows an impact on the ecosystem by degrading the existing wildlife corridors. On the catchment scale the anomalies of the water balance are still marginal, but with the expected structural changes of the catchment there is an urgent need to increase the public awareness and knowledge of decision makers regarding the effect of the relationship between LULCC, water resources and environmental degradation.
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1513; doi:10.3390/su9091513