Doktorsavhandling, Edmond Alavaisha
Doktorsavhandling, Edmond Alavaisha

Abstract [en]

Land use change has major impact on the world’s wetland ecosystems and biodiversity. The motivation behind this change has been to increase agricultural production, often resulting in negative effects on water quality and soil fertility. Tanzania has carried out a large expansion and intensification of agriculture under the Kilimo kwanza (First agriculture) initiative which has triggered the need for better knowledge on land use change effects and associated ecosystem functioning. This thesis considers small-scale irrigation schemes to understand the effects of agriculture expansion and farming practices on nutrients, water quality and ecosystem services (ES) in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. The study approach is multidisciplinary involving interviews, remote sensing, geographical information system techniques, and in-field soil and water ecological sampling. The major land use change in the valley during the last three decades was transformation from forest, bushland and grassland into cultivated land. The rate of change was faster adjacent to irrigation schemes and most changes occurred downstream irrigation canals, close to the floodplain. Irrigation and fertilization contributed to soil carbon and nitrogen accumulation in crop fields, which both declined in concentration with depth into the soil. However, such management practices and agricultural land expansion had impacts on several ES – especially water quality in streams. Streams surrounded mainly by cultivated land, as well as downstream areas, had lower water quality compared to streams with less settlement, more natural vegetation and upstream areas. Furthermore, when evaluated, macroinvertebrates indices were found to be a good indicator of water quality and a complement to chemical and physical water analysis. Irrigation farming produced more food compared to rainfed farming, and also other ES such as flood regulation, erosion control and several cultural services, depending on the river discharge. The thesis shows the importance to use irrigation/fertilization management to enhance soil fertility and preserve soil structure, but also the need for proper irrigation management to prevent flooding and erosion, conserve natural vegetation, and protect water quality. To enhance nature conservation, preserve biodiversity and secure future supply of ES in the valley, investment in irrigation infrastructures should be done at small-scale to mitigate the large-scale exploitation of Kilombero wetland.

Public defence

2020-09-24, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English) and digitally via Zoom:, 13:00 (Engelska)


Barron, Jennie, Professor


Lindborg, Regina, Professor

Lyon, Steve, Professor


Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency