Developing reference criteria for the ecological status of West African rivers

Kaboré I, Moog O, Ouéda A, Sendzimir J, Ouédraogo R, Guenda W, & Melcher AH (2018). Developing reference criteria for the ecological status of West African rivers. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 190 (1) DOI:10.1007/s10661-017-6360-1.

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Abstract

Awareness of sustainable management of water and its biological resources is rising in West Africa, but application of effective tools for biomonitoring and detecting habitats at risk in aquatic ecosystems is limited. In this study, we provide key environmental descriptors to characterize reference sites by applying the following "a priori criteria" (physical and chemical, hydro-morphological, and land use parameters) by exploring their potential to determine suitable reference sites. Using data collected from 44 sites, we identified 37 criteria that reliably identify reference conditions in semi-arid rivers by reflecting the impacts of multiple pressures ranging from low to very high intensity of human uses and impairments. We integrated all these impacts in an overall pressures index, which showed that protected areas can reasonably be considered as credible reference sites as far as they show low overall impact levels from cumulative pressures. We recommend that development of bio-indicator standards should be based on the collection and integration of all the available information, especially quantitative, spatially-explicit data, from benthic macroinvertebrates and fish. Rigorous standardization of bio-indicator protocols will make them more easily applicable for management and conservation of aquatic ecosystem resources in semi-arid zones of Africa.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arid; Multiple pressures; Reference conditions; Rivers
Research Programs: Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2017 07:44
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2018 09:19
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/14996

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