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GlobE Wetlands in East Africa

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Project Title:
Wetlands in East Africa: Reconciling future food production with environmental protection

Project duration (phase 1): 2013 - 2016


Many regions in East Africa show stagnating or even declining trends in food production. These trends can be attributed to population growth, upland degradation and climate variability. Wetlands, on the other hand could serve as potential production hot-spots as they provide year-round water supply and are a generally high quality resource base. Wetlands occupy 20 million hectares in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. However, only a small proportion is currently used or used in a sustainable manner. We believe that wetlands offer a good expansion potential for agriculture and that they become the food basket of the region, provided that intensified uses can be reconciled with conserving biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem services.
The project is composed of a consortium from Bonn-Köln-Jülich and African partners and aims at assessing the contribution of wetlands to food security and the sustainability of current and future uses along climatic and social gradients. We study the spatial-temporal dynamics of matter fluxes and their underlying processes, and assess technical options to enhance production while considering ecosystem services and human health aspects. Models and assessment tools are used for cross-disciplinary and cross-scale integration and regional extrapolation under different global change scenarios.

For more details please visit the GlobE wetlands project


Contribution of ILR

ILR coordinates the following work packages:

WP A4: Ecosystem services
Planning the use of wetlands for food production while maintaining other critical functions that wetlands fulfill requires a comprehensive overview of the diverse ecosystem services wetlands provide and their economic value to various users. These services may include the regulation of water flows, supporting dry-season livestock grazing, biodiversity conservation and ecotourism. We will assess critical ecosystem services, based on remote sensing data, field surveys, stakeholder workshops, and up-scaling of information. Activities will be implemented in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and will provide “price tags” for selected services and maps with quantitative information on main ecosystem services provided.

The research done within WP A4 is done under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Lars Hein from Wageningen University

WP B3: Economic analysis of alternative (wetland use options
The work package aims to assess alternative land use options in comparison with current land use under specific natural, economic and institutional conditions. Farm-household models with an explicit representation of agricultural technology in bio-economic sub-modules will be specified for this purpose. The modelling approach shall employ appropriate behavioural assumptions for the main users of the wetland and take into account the most relevant institutional constraints and interactions including the market environment for outputs and inputs. The economic assessment of the different management options will enable to give site specific recommendations as well as a quantification of the overall effects on the actors involved.

Principal investigators
Prof. Dr. Thomas Heckelei, ILR, University of Bonn  

Research fellow
Dr. Daniel Kyalo Willy, ILR, University of Bonn

PhD students
Bisrat Haile Gebrekidan, ILR, University of Bonn

Funding: BMBF

CoordinationMatthias Becker, University of Bonn , Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Bonn,

Africa Rice,
several partners at University of Bonn,
University of Cologne,
University of Dar es Salaam,
Jülich Research Centr,
Kenyatta University, Kenya,
University of Mainz,
Makerere Universit, Kampala, Uganda,
University of Nairobi, Kenya,
National Agricultural Research Organization of Uganda,
National Museums of Kenya,
Rwanda Environmental Management Authority


Conference Contributions

Gebrekidan, B. H., Rasch, S., and Heckelei, T. (2017): Farmers Intensification Decisions in Kilombero Valley Floodplain: A Bayesian Belief Network Approach . Paper presented at WATER MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP The Kilombero case: from Catchment to Consumer. October 9-10, 2017.

Gebrekidan, B. H., Rasch, S., and Heckelei, T. (2016): Farmers Intensification Decisions Under Fragile and Unpredictable Environment in Kilombero Valley Floodplain: A Bayesian Belief Network Approach . Paper presented at the 5th international conference on sustainable Development, Colombia University,New York, USA, September 18-20, 2017.

Mwangi, M., Willy, D.K., Ritho, C., Guthiga, P.M., 2016: Time preference and resource use behavior by wetland users: The case of Ewaso Narok wetland, Kenya, in: Proceedings of the Second SAED International Conference. Presented at the Second SAED International Conference Nov. 29-Dec 01, 2016, Kenyatta University Printing Press, Nairobi, Kenya.

Gebrekidan, B. H., Heckelei, T., and Rasch, S.(2016): The Dynamics of Land-use Change in Kilombero Valley Floodplain: Characterization of Agents . Poster presentation at Tropentag- ‘Solidarity in a competing world – fair use of resources’, Vienna, Austria, September 18 – 21, 2016.


Last updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018