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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Global Environmental Change
Title Floods and livelihoods: The impact of changing water resources on wetland agro-ecological production systems in the Tana River Delta, Kenya
Volume 23
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 252-263
URL https://www.researchgate.net/publication/245099798
Wetlands are highly dynamic and productive systems that have been under increased pressure from
changes in land use and water management strategies. In Eastern Africa, wetlands provide resources at
multiple spatial and temporal levels through farming, fishing, livestock ownership and a host of other
ecosystem services that sustain the local economy and individual livelihoods. As part of a broader effort
to describe future development scenarios for East African coastal wetlands, this qualitative study focuses
on understanding the processes by which river water depletion has affected local food production
systems in Kenya’s Tana River Delta over the past 50 years, and how this situation has impacted
residents’ livelihoods and well-being. Interviews performed in six villages among various ethnic groups,
geographical locations and resource profiles indicated that the agro-ecological production systems
formerly in place were adapted to the river’s dynamic flooding patterns. As these flooding patterns
changed, the local population diversified and abandoned or adopted various farming, fishing and
livestock-rearing techniques. Despite these efforts, the decrease in water availability affected each
subcomponent of the production systems under study, which led to their collapse in the 1990s. Water
depletion negatively impacted local human well-being through the loss of food security. The current
study provides a detailed account of the dynamics of agro-ecological production systems facing the
effects of river water depletion in a wetland-associated environment in Sub-Saharan Africa

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