Ecological assessment of Cheffa Wetland in the Borkena Valley, northeast Ethiopia: Macroinvertebrate and bird communities

Ecological Indicators (Impact Factor: 3.44). 04/2012; 15(1):63-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.09.011


A comparative study of macroinvertebrates and bird communities was undertaken to assess the ecological
integrity and human impact in Cheffa Wetland, northeastern Ethiopia. The study was undertaken from
February to May 2010. Physicochemical parameters of the water, birds, macroinvertebrates and human
impact classes were assessed at 10 sites in the wetland exposed to different anthropogenic activities. We
have compared Shannon index of diversity of macroinvertebrates and birds along with different habitat
classes. Multivariate statistics were used to extract the main driving forces for changes in macroinvertebrate
and bird community patterns out of a complex data set. Subsequently, we compared the diversity
indices of the macroinvertebrate and bird communities for the detection of human impacts. A total of
2789 macroinvertebrates belonging to 34 families in 10 orders were collected and 3128 birds belonging
to 57 species recorded. Macroinvertebrates belonged to five different orders: Hemiptera (seven families),
Coleoptera (five families), Odonata (five families), Gastropoda (seven families) and Diptera (five families),
exceeding 77% of the overall sample. Abundance and diversity of the bird and macroinvertebrate communities
were related mainly to concentrations of DO, nitrate and chloride, habitat conditions, and human
disturbances. Of the 57 species of birds recorded, the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), white-faced whistling
ducks (Dendrocygna viduata), Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) and spur-winged lapwing (Vanellus
superciliosus) were the most abundant. The physicochemical variables showed great variation among
sites. The results revealed that human interference in wetland may result in serious ecological imbalances
in the natural life cycle and impact on human welfare. Long-term studies are required to predict changes
in wetland ecology and population dynamics, with the objective of developing appropriate measures by
federal, regional and local stakeholders to ensure wetland restoration and sustainability.

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    • "Similarly, the concentration of phosphate was much higher than the critical value of 0.05 mg/L in surface water (ANZECC 1992) in almost all sites except at K 3 and B 3 and this may be due to fertilizer runoff from agricultural farmlands, pasture catchments, and wastewater release. It has been reported that the grazing fields, agricultural croplands, waste discharges, and other anthropogenic activities are known causes of nutrient enrichment and threats for wetland deterioration (Cooke 1991; Getachew et al. 2012). Biodiversity indices like Simpson and Shannon indices were used in order to estimate the level of ecological disturbances in both Kitto and Boye wetlands (Fig. 4). "
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    ABSTRACT: Wetlands serve as important natural resources and play a major eco-hydrological role in environmental management. However, information about the potential anthropogenic threats to Ethiopian wetlands is lacking; therefore an investigation was conducted to assess the physicochemical and biological characteristics of two Ethiopian wetlands. The results clearly suggest that there is a high level of anthropogenic threats to both the wetlands. The more intense agricultural practices and waste discharge was closely associated with higher phosphate concentration and low level of dissolved oxygen (DO). The biological analysis reveals a notable reduction of the diversity of macroinvertebrates in the downstream direction. Kitto wetland has significantly better MI diversity than Boye (p-value<0.05). Overall, Boye wetland was relatively more polluted than Kitto due to intensive pollutant input mostly from the Jimma Town as well as intensive agriculture related practices around the Boye wetland excepts downstream site B3 which was furthest away from human activity. Protecting wetlands from anthropogenic threats is one of the major concerns in developing countries. This can be achieved by creating awareness among people by employing appropriate communication strategies about the importance of wetlands. In addition, intensive surveillance and monitoring programmes could pave the way to address the current catastrophe in the near future.
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