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Colgate University

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


Deforestation is known to alter hydrology by reducing interception, transpiration and infiltration capacity, and increasing runoff which all leads to higher stream discharge. For rural Tanzanian communities, surface water resources are crucial for meeting basic needs, so the integrity of headwater catchments need to be maintained to ensure their reliability. The objectives of this study were to a) map the streams in the two forests because none currently exist and b) determine the effect of deforestation on discharge variability. Over fifteen days of data collection, this study analyzed variability of discharge and the degree of correlation between discharge and rainfall on ten streams in Mazumbai and Baga II Forest Reserves in the West Usambara Mountains in Lushoto district, Tanzania which have different management practices and levels of forest integrity. This study found no significant difference in variability of discharge between the streams of the two forests and no significant correlation between rainfall and discharge for any stream. This is attributed to the low levels of wood extraction in the more disturbed Baga II Forest Reserve compared to the amount of deforestation typically required to significantly impact streamflow. Additionally, the methods for discharge measurement were not precise enough to accurately quantify discharge on the small streams, and the short timespan of the study did not allow for measurements to be made in both wet and dry seasons to capture the true extent of how variable in discharge the streams can be. Because of these findings, further studies are needed before recommendations can be made to the forest reserves on changes to make to ensure streamflow reliability.


African Studies | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Studies | Forest Sciences | Fresh Water Studies | Geographic Information Sciences | Hydrology | Water Resource Management


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