The Dar es Salaam Seascape: A Case Study of an Environmental Management ‘Hotspot’
AbstractThe Dar es Salaam seascape contains a variety of interacting coastal and marine ecosystems that support diverse resources, upon which human life has depended for centuries. This paper applies the UNEP Human-Environment Interaction Analytical Approach to examine the changes that have taken place in this seascape over the past few decades. The main drivers of change have been rapid population growth, poverty and inadequate education, together with global climate change. The main pressures have been destructive fishing practices, mangrove harvesting, overfishing, tourism infrastructure and polluting emissions. These pressures have resulted in substantial negative environmental state changes, e.g., habitat loss and degradation, biodiversity loss and disturbance of food webs, and coastal erosion/accretion. Thus, the Dar es Salaam seascape has become an environmental “hotspot” of degradation, with consequent negative impacts on human well-being such as loss of livelihoods and reduction in the availability of food, building materials and firewood.
Since the early 1990s, responses or interventions by government bodies, NGOs and integrated coastal management programmes, operating at the national level and at localized levels, have targeted only limited areas of the seascape. Despite these management efforts, there are many critical outstanding and emerging issues that remain unresolved. The paper concludes that it is not effective to manage the seascape in a “piecemeal” fashion and recommends that an integrated coastal management programme should be established to cover the entire Dar es Salaam seascape.
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