Land use alters dominant water sources and flow paths in tropical montane catchments in East Africa | Land Portal

Informations sur la ressource

Date of publication: 
décembre 2018
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
handle:10568/92434
License of the resource: 

Conversion of natural forest to other land uses could lead to significant changes in catchment hydrology, but the nature of these changes has been insufficiently investigated in tropical montane catchments, especially in Africa. To address this knowledge gap, we identified stream water sources and flow paths in three tropical montane sub-catchments (27–36 km2) with different land use (natural forest, smallholder agriculture and commercial tea plantations) within a 1 021 km2 catchment in the Mau Forest Complex, Kenya. Weekly samples were collected from stream water, precipitation and soil water for 75 weeks and analysed for stable water isotopes (δ2H and δ18O) for mean transit time estimation, whereas trace element samples from stream water and potential end members were collected over a period of 55 weeks for end member mixing analysis. Stream water mean transit time was similar (~ 4 years) in the three sub-catchments, and ranged from 3.2–3.3 weeks in forest soils and 4.5–7.9 weeks in pasture soils at 15 cm depth to 10.4–10.8 weeks in pasture soils at 50 cm depth. The contribution of springs and wetlands to stream discharge increased from 18, 1 and 48 % during low flow to 22, 51 and 65 % during high flow in the natural forest, smallholder agriculture and tea plantation sub-catchments, respectively. The dominant stream water source in the tea plantation sub-catchment was spring water (56 %), while precipitation was dominant in the smallholder agriculture (59 %) and natural forest (45 %) sub-catchments. These results confirm that catchment hydrology is strongly influenced by land use, which could have serious consequences for water-related ecosystem services, such as provision of clean water.

Auteurs et éditeurs

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Jacobs, S.R.
Timbe, E.
Weeser, B.
Rufino, Mariana C.
Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus
Breuer, L.

Corporate Author(s): 
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is a non-profit, scientific facility that conducts research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscapes management around the world. With our global, multidisciplinary approach, we aim to improve human well-being, protect the environment, and increase equity. To do so, we help policymakers, practitioners and communities make decisions based on solid science about how they use and manage their forests and landscapes.

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ILRI’s mission is... to improve food and nutritional security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock—ensuring better lives through livestock.

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Lancaster University (legally the University of Lancaster) is a collegiate public research university in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. The university was established by Royal Charter in 1964, one of several new universities created in the 1960s.

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CGIAR (CGIAR)

CGIAR is the only worldwide partnership addressing agricultural research for development, whose work contributes to the global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and major nutrition imbalances, and environmental degradation.

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