Thursday, February 16, 2012
"With water comes life":Peter Hancock
In this article, the author Peter Hancock discusses the positive and negative impacts of the biggest Okavango floods in living memory. He maintains that although the floods have had some positive impact on the ecosystems, they have also impacted negatively on the people who live in and around the Okavango. Bursting at the seams, the Delta has escaped from the constraints of the Buffalo Fence, expanding into human settlements and livestock areas and restoring pastures. Fish have bred prolifically in the shallow new floodplains and re-colonised previously dry lagoons. Keta Mosepele, Fisheries Biologist at ORI, commented that this development is unsurprising as the fish fauna of the Okavango Delta is geared to flood cycles. The cichlids (bream species) are able to increase quickly by reproducing at a younger stage, filling the new available habitats. However, one of the negative impacts of the floods has been on the the herbivore population. Richard Fynn, Rangeland Ecologist at ORI, maintains that since the floods have inundated the traditional alluvial floodplains, animals have been forced off to feed on new floodplains in less productive sandy areas.