The utilization of Dambos in Chipata: A case of Mwami border area

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Simbeye, Betty
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Dambos are a valuable natural resource on which a number of human activities are taking place. In Zambia, most dambos have been turned into agricultural, grazing and sand mining areas. This result into the degradation of the dambo ecosystem.This study was undertaken in the dambos of Mwami border area of Chipata in the Eastern Province of Zambia as a case study. The main purpose of undertaking such a study was to identify the different activities that take place in these dambos and the impact of the identified activities on the dambo environment. This was achieved through field interviews using a non-scheduled structured questionnaire and field observations. Data obtained from the field was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as averages frequencies and percentages. The study revealed that the major activities taking place in dambos are cultivation, livestock grazing, water extraction, sand mining, black soil quarrying and grass threshing. Cultivation is mainly done during the dry season although wet season cultivation on dambos is also possible. Livestock grazing and water extraction are also dry season activities but can continue until the early months (November to early December) of the rain season. Grass threshing is the cool dry season activity while sand mining and black soil removal is possible almost at any time of the year except during the months (January and February) of the rain season when the dambos are likely to be flooded. The major impact of these activities on the dambos is the clearance of indigenous dambo vegetation and in most cases leading to an increase in soil erosion hazards.Dambos are used for a number of human purposes. However, these activities have impacted greatly on the dambo ecosystem leading to dambo degradation. Unfortunately this sad scenario will not halt dambo utilization under the pressure of a growing human population. The degradation of dambo environments can be reduced if only good management accompanies utilization.
National Resources-Zambia , Rural Development-Chipata, Zambia , Dambo farming-Chipata, Zambia , Farms, Small-Chipata, Zambia