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Title: Regional scale risk to the ecological sustainability and ecosystem services of an African floodplain system.
Authors: O'Brien, Gordon Craig.
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Keywords: Floodplains.;Multiple stressors.;Regional-scale risk assessment.;Socioecological endpoints.;Sustainability.
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Wiley
Abstract: The Phongolo floodplain is one of southern Africa's most important systems. In this study, we carried out a regional scale ecological risk assessment to evaluate the risk of multiple stressors associated with the use of the aquatic resources in the floodplain to selected social and ecological endpoints representing its sustainability. The floodplain has undergone significant changes as a result of the impacts of multiple stressors. This includes high risk of impact and threatened sustainability between the Pongolapoort Dam and the Ndumo Game Reserve (NGR). This compares to relatively low risk to the maintenance of the endpoints within the NGR. The reserve provides a protection and refuge function for regional biodiversity maintenance and ecosystem sustainability processes. In the study a range of scenarios were considered and demonstrate that the system will respond to protection measures and or increased resource use options. Should flood reductions or water quality pollution drivers continue on increasing trajectories, the condition of the Phongolo River and floodplain will probably deteriorate into an unacceptable, unsustainable state. Removal of the protection services of the NGR would result in an unsustainable ecosystem and loss of ecosystem services for regional vulnerable African communities. Additional evidence should be obtained from monitoring and research to refine, validate, and update the assessment in an adaptive management context. The risk assessment framework approach implemented in the Phongolo floodplain can contribute to the management of other floodplains ecosystems and the sustainability management of social and ecological attributes and processes of these important ecosystems.
Description: Please note that only UMP researchers are shown in the metadata. To access the co-authors, please view the full text.
DOI: 10.1111/risa.13689
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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