Natural Ponds Alterations and their Impacts to the Ecosystem and Perimeter Community Livelihood in North Unguja, Zanzibar

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The State University of Zanzibar
Natural ponds are a biologically important habitant type for their specialized collection and the considerable numbers of rare and endemic species they support and play critical role in maintaining biodiversity. Continued increases in anthropogenic behavior and climate change, act in concert to cause alteration to pond and pond perimeter. In Zanzibar, there are several ponds that impound rainfall runoff; however, there is little concern in conservation in spite of its great support to ecosystem and livelihood with little information in literature. This study aimed to determine the current changes within the natural pond perimeter of both natural and anthropogenic events, to examine the impact of the changes to the ecosystem and livelihood benefit, to assess the vulnerability of the natural pond to the changing climate and to indicate the community perception to the changes and efforts to adaptation in north region of Unguja, Zanzibar. The total of six ponds sites (Vuga, Kichungwani, Mbiji, Muwanda, Kinyasini, and Ketwa) involved in the study. Observations made within ecosystem service providing units focused on the general condition of natural pond, livelihood activities, conservations, biodiversity and settlements. Spatial indications (using Google satellite image of February 2020) have been used to locate and indicate the demarcation points of the pond. The questionnaire used to capture different change from past to the present in pond environment and sources of economic activities for livelihood incomes, climate variability and anthropogenic activities impacts to pond ecosystem and community livelihoods with their vulnerability as well as to access the community perception to the changes and efforts to adaptation. Measurement also has been used where the actual area in m2 has been obtained using Google Earth - using Google satellite image of February 2020 and tape measure used to take other distances. A floating objects and weighted cord/thick string/rope marked in feet, used to take depth and in dry portion ranging pole, long string and spirit level have been used. The study revealed four major changes/alterations around the ponds: (i) decreased in area (ii) changing in condition of water (iii) settlement encroachment and (iv) changing in vegetation cover. Due to these changes, the following impact revealed: decreased numbers of organisms (among the organism found in pond area 31 (83.8%) reduced); extinction of the Gombakofi (Typhonodorum lindleyanum); habitat destruction and fragmentation; emergence of small tortoises (Geochelore giganter) as non native organism; reduced economic production in quality and quantity; decline on water source; and reduced of wood resources. The study also reveals that the ponds are vulnerable to changing climate because they are (a) exposed to climate change and variability (b) sensitive to climate change and variability (c) low adaptive capacity. People are aware concerning to changes, however there is insufficiency effort to adaptation and protect the ponds. In general the study showed that the ponds are in great change from which alter the ecosystem composition and human livelihood. The finding of this study will awakened the stakeholders upon the worse conditions of the ponds hence will boost toward the conservation process to sustain the pond ecosystem services
Environmental changes of natural pond and how, Impact of environmental changes to the ecosystem and livelihood benefit.
Ame Khamis Adam