|PAN UK Project update: Ecotox monitoring underway in the Ethiopian Rift Valley|
Field work to monitor the ecosystem impacts of cotton and flower production in Ethiopia is well underway, as part of our project Tackling pesticide impacts on biodiversity in the Ethiopian Rift Valley, and will complement yield and profit evidence to support adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by local farmers.
Local scientists designed a robust eco-toxicological monitoring programme in 2013-4, based on an ecosystem approach for comparing different pest management strategies. Partners from the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, and the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, have contributed to two monitoring plans (one for Arba Minch, and one for Ziway) by PAN Ethiopia, based on a Desk Assessment and pesticide residue monitoring in Lake Ziway. Intensive support from the Natural Resources Group and PAN UK has contributed to national capacity to develop these plans to a high standard. The project has also developed an approach to integrate more systematic ecosystem monitoring into the context of farmer field schools (FFS) and IPM demonstration plots.
Smallholder farmers and two commercial cotton farms are monitoring pests and beneficial insects in cotton cropping areas in Arba Minch, to compare between pesticide sprayed and various IPM and food spray alternative pest management strategies. Outside the farms, Local Monitoring Teams are monitoring birds and vegetation and comparing between different land uses (fields, adjacent to fields, and inside the forest).
Sorting invertebrates from Lake Ziway (Photo: Ian Grant)
At Lake Ziway, biological monitoring of aquatic invertebrates seeks to describe the impacts of the outlet from a flower farm bordering on the lake, sampling from different points in the outflow channels, in the lake nearby, and at a distant point in the lake shore.
Field work in Arba Minch began in 2014, and in Lake Ziway in March 2015. Regular field visits are planned until the end of 2015, and the results will be presented early in 2016.
Bird monitoring in the Amibara Farm eco-tone, July 2015 (Photo: Atalo Belay)
In addition to the project partners, local communities have been part of the monitoring teams for the outcrop monitoring of birds and vegetation, and assisting in sorting and identification of the aquatic invertebrates. School Environment Clubs, women’s spinning associations and farmer cooperatives are some of the other community members who benefit from information disseminated by the project. In the last phase of the project, results from the monitoring will be shared to encourage people to adopt more biodiversity-friendly practices; and the government to deliver sustainable agriculture policies.
The Darwin Initiative is funded by the UK Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and assists countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources to meet their objectives under one or more of the three major biodiversity Conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES); and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), through the funding of collaborative projects which draw on UK biodiversity expertise.