Climate Change Impacts, Local Knowledge and Coping Strategies in the Great Ruaha River Catchment Area, Tanzania
Richard Kangalawe, Shadrack Mwakalila, Petro Masolwa
DOI: 10.4236/nr.2011.24027   PDF    HTML     7,352 Downloads   16,566 Views   Citations


Climate change has profound implications for managing freshwater resources and species dependent on those resources. Water is an essential component of the life support system of the earth, and a basic resource for socio-economic development. The Great Ruaha River Catchment Area is a dynamic and complex ecosystem requiring inclusion climate change adaptation in the management of the freshwater and natural resources available to reduce the severity of climate change impacts. Rainfall has decreased considerably during the last 10 - 30 years, and characterised by high interannual variability, seasonal shifts and variable seasonal distribution with unpredictable onset and ending of rains and shortened growing seasons. Temperature has increased considerably during this period causing increased evapotranspiration losses and incidences of pest and diseases. The freshwater of Ruaha River and it tributaries are vulneable to changing climate, such as drought, which can negatively impact on the livelihoods of the people through de- creased crop and livestock production, and on local biodiversity. The changing climate has had negative impacts on, among other aspects, land use and water shortages for irrigation, livestock and domestic uses. This has compelled riparian communities in the catchment to devises coping strategies including practicing irrigation to provide supplementary water to crops, using drought tolerant crop varieties, rationing of irrigation water in farmlands, wetland cultivation, and diversification to non-agricultural activities. Despite the existence of many indicators used for local climate forecasting, there are limitations to local adaptation, including among others, poverty, institutional aspects and limited integration of climate adaptation in various sectors. The bulk of indigenous knowledge could be integrated into formal adaptation planning, and may be important components of environmental conservation at the local level.

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R. Kangalawe, S. Mwakalila and P. Masolwa, "Climate Change Impacts, Local Knowledge and Coping Strategies in the Great Ruaha River Catchment Area, Tanzania," Natural Resources, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2011, pp. 212-223. doi: 10.4236/nr.2011.24027.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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