Biological monitoring of freshwater ecosystem health in Ethiopia: A review of current efforts, challenges, and future developments
Aquatic resources are increasingly stressed primarily due to anthropogenic activities in Ethiopia. These anthropogenic stresses altered ecological integrities and compromised ecosystem services that could otherwise support the livelihoods of millions of people. Evidence-based management of the degradation of aquatic ecosystems requires quantifying ecologically significant changes and discriminating among impact levels and types. Apart from physico-chemistry, monitoring of aquatic ecosystems using biological organisms is progressing well in recent times both in the tropics and temperate regions. The majority of studies so far focused on macroinvertebrates and to a lesser extent on diatoms. Though the method is given less attention, individual initiatives have been increasing over time especially in developing countries, including Ethiopia. This paper reviews current efforts undertaken and major challenges facing the use of bioindicators in aquatic ecosystems as biological monitoring tools. The possible application of biomonitoring and its importance for Ethiopian aquatic ecosystems is also discussed and future improvements suggested.