Thursday, August 13, 2009

Seminar presentation: Waternet Students

The six Waternet students at HOORC made their first seminar presentations last week Thursday. Floodplain wetlands, by Sifiso Ncube highlighted the importance of floodplain wetlands as both floodbusters (helping reduce the height and speed of floodwaters and filters (improving water quality by trapping sediments ). Violet Kisakye 's presentation "Microorganisms and their significance in wetland ecosystems, talked about the important role microorganism play in wetland ecosystem notably decomposition, nutrient cycles and the removal of toxicants. Rice paddies as wetlands by Victor Kaluba stated that the increasing demand for rice, has resulted in more land under rice paddies, leading to an increase of methane gas emissions. He concluded that alternative methods that inhibit methanogen population rise should be used. Sekela Twisa in her presentation, Mangrove Wetlands, observed that reduction in mangrove area increases the threat of human safety and shoreline developments from hazards such as flooding, storm waves and surges. As a result, this reduces coastal water quality and reduces biodiversity. In his presentation, Wetlands as sources or sinks , Joseph Mwale identified the following attributes that render them either sources or sinks, namely high primary productivity which ensures abundant organic carbon available for sequestration , reduced decomposition due to the anaerobic nature of wetland sediments and low nitrous oxide emissions due to continually water-logged soils and low nitrate levels in many wetlands. Taking a country perspective, in Peatlands: Focus on Mozambique, Susartino Palege described the characteristics of the "machongos" in Mozambique, their functions and values. He concluded that although they have many uses for humankind, they are not only highly susceptible to fires, but can pose major difficulties in the construction of roads and railways as they are highly compressible under even small loads .

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