Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Environmental Science

First Advisor

Arthur J. Gold

Abstract

The dialogue pertaining to the management of riverine and coastal ecosystems has evolved over the past decade to consider ecosystem goods and services due to their ability to link ecosystem structure and function to human well-being. Ecosystem services are “a wide range of conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and the species that are part of them, help sustain and fulfill human life” (Daily et al. 1997 p.2). Ecosystem goods emerge from ecosystem services and are defined as “organisms and their parts and products that grow in the wild and … are used directly for human benefits” (Daily et al. 1997 p.4). Protected areas, such as national parks, and environmental flow regimes that identify critical aspects of river flow, are increasingly being utilized as management measures to enhance resiliency, protect biodiversity, and preserve the delivery of ecosystem goods and services. Recently it been proposed that aquatic ecosystem goods and services can serve as a common currency to account for the benefits and losses associated with altered flow regimes and define the risks in a transparent manner since they provide immense value to all stakeholders (Arthington 2012). Adopting this idea, my dissertation research comprises three studies focused on the ecosystem goods and services related to the protected portion of the Wami River and Estuary encompassed within Saadani National Park (SANAPA), Tanzania. The first study investigates the use and perception by different groups of downstream stakeholders of the value of ecosystem goods and services. The second study examines the effect of SANAPA on the tradeoff between two specific ecosystem services and whether the local surrounding communities fell into a poverty trap as a result of the restrictive measures put in place when the park was created. The third study assesses how proposed water withdrawals for a large scale irrigation project located just upstream of the park’s boundary would alter the freshwater inflow regime and potentially impact the delivery of ecosystem goods and services to SANAPA and the neighboring local communities.

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