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Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project Special Study on Sediment Discharge and its Consequences: Soil Erosion Modelling in the Lake Tanganyika Catchment

Drake, Nicholas and Wooster, Martin and Symeonakis, Ilias and Zhang, Xiaoyang (2001) Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project Special Study on Sediment Discharge and its Consequences: Soil Erosion Modelling in the Lake Tanganyika Catchment. [Report]

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Abstract

A regional scale soil erosion has been implemented on a daily and decadal timestep for the Lake Tanganyika catchment using remote sensing estimates of rainfall and vegetation cover. Remote sensing estimates of rainfall were found to be superior to those obtained using kriging of GTS raingauge data. Parameterisation of the model with these different spatial rainfall estimates produced quite different results in certain instances. The model has been implemented in a number of different ways in order to derive different information about both the lake and its catchment. We have demonstrated how the model can be used in near real time monitoring, and have shown how retrospective studies can be parameterised using the FEWS archive of rainfall estimates and ARTEMIS NDVI archive. Furthermore, we have developed scenarios of land degradation and deforestation in order to determine how the catchment responds under these conditions. Finally, we have developed a method of sediment routing that calculates sediment delivery ratio in order to estimate the amount of eroded sediment that reaches the lake. The results suggest that there are three regions of the lake catchment (one each in Burundi, Zaire and Tanzania) that are particularly sensitive to erosion. In Burundi deforestation is almost total and significant sediments appear to be entering the northern part of Lake Tanganyika. In Tanzania and The Democratic Republic of Congo deforestation is less complete and sediment yields do not appear to be so high.

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