Wetlands are key ecosystems of high biological diversity that provide valuable ecosystem services. These are particularly important in water stressed semi-arid countries, which enhances their vulnerability to degradation. The Okavango Delta, a key wetland in Botswana, is characterised by dynamic inter and intra specific interactions. There are dynamic biotic and abiotic interactions in the system that enhances its resilience. The flood pulse is the main factor mediating bio-physical dynamics in this system. Despite the various perturbations that have been experienced in the system, the Delta has always been able to absorb them and retain its character at the general ecosystem level. These notwithstanding, there have been some changes at the local scale where the Delta has shifted regimes and entered into altered states as a consequence of either channel or lagoon failure. Management of these systems should ensure that their dynamic characteristics are maintained, and this is enshrined within the panarchy concept. Adopting the resilience framework in natural resources management allows for flexibility in devising management strategies to respond to future unexpected events.
Part of the book: Inland Waters