Call for abstracts: International Conference on Contemporary Evolution of African Floodplains

International conference 27-30 May 2014
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Contemporary Evolution of African Floodplains and Deltas

Call for abstracts:
submit an abstract at africandeltas@gmail.com before December 1st 2013
Please indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for an Oral or Poster presentation

The downstream part of river basins, where the main rivers flow into the ocean, are character- ised by complex hydrosystems: lower floodplains and deltas. Considered the most productive ecosystems on the planet, natural floodplains and deltas support many human activities (recession agriculture, livestock keeping, fisheries, forestry...) that are essentially linked to the flood- ing rhythm of the river and are conducted according to complex and season-based resource use calendars.

All over the planet, but especially in Africa, floodplains and deltas are undergoing a rapid evo- lution. The conference will explore the contemporary evolution of African floodplains and deltas exposed to a range of hydro-climatic and socio-political drivers.
Current drivers of change include (but are not limited to) rising sea level and climate change, modification of the flooding pattern due to dam-building and increased water abstraction up- stream, land-use changes in the catchment (deforestation and land degradation), transforma- tion to large-scale irrigation or aquaculture systems. Their level of integration into the global economy and their demography also exert a major influence. How do these drivers affect the delivery of ecosystem services at multiple scales? Who are the winners and who are the losers of the transformations?

Policies on deltas and floodplains also differ: some coastal wetlands are simply converted into large-scale agricultural fields. Elsewhere, biodiversity values or the recognition of a strong cultural identity contribute to the maintenance of their specific wetland character under various protected area governance and management models (e.g. government controlled, conserva- tion NGO dominated, Indigenous and Community Conserved areas etc.). How do these new management systems acknowledge complexity and maintain the characteristics while coping with all the drivers of change?

During the 4-day conference, researchers will seek to analyze and compare the current evolu- tion of several African deltas (in Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern Africa) and will explore possible scenarios for the future. The conference’s scientific committee will favor field- based and comparative approaches and multidisciplinary research.

Programme:

Day 1: Session 1 - Recent evolution of flooding patterns
This session will focus on recent changes in flooding patterns and sediment supply due to climate change, increased abstraction, land use changes, dam-building, etc. or combinations of these.

Day 2: Session 2 - Sharing natural resources in a multi-user context
This session will focus on biodiversity values, natural resource governance and management prac- tices and strategies of floodplain and delta users, including stakeholder solidarities and conflicts. Interactions between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being will be explored.

Day 3: Session 3 - The future of African floodplains and deltas
This session will focus on the potential of different governance models and management practices (from conservation to production) that can promote environmental, social and economic sustainabil- ity.

Day 4: Field excursion to Rufiji delta and floodplain

Planning:
First call for abstracts: 25th October 2013
Deadline for receiving abstracts: 1st December 2013
Selection of abstracts and notification to authors: 5th February 2014

Organizing committee:
Dr. Stéphanie Duvail (IRD, Kenya), Prof. Amos Majule (IRA, Tanzania), Dr. Dorothy Wanja Nyingi (NMK-KENWEB, Kenya), Dr. Catherine Masao (IRA, Tanzania)

For more information: www.kenweb.or.ke

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith