Okavango Delta: Floods of Life was released in February 2010 at an international symposium in Maun, Botswana, where several hundred wetland scientists gathered to examine the effects of flood pulsing wetlands on biodiversity and people’s livelihoods. Published by IUCN and the Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (HOORC) of the University of Botswana, with financial support from the European Union and the UK Darwin Initiative, the publication was designed to inspire the region’s decision makers to preserve this valuable delta, which provides so many goods and services, in addition to its natural beauty.
As the world’s largest inland delta, and one of the largest Ramsar-designated Wetlands of International Importance, the Okavango is an oasis in the Kalahari Desert that is fed by water flowing from the Angolan highlands through Namibia into Botswana. Recent IUCN assessments have confirmed that its seasonal floodplains are home to great numbers of large mammals, including buffalo, elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, and wild dogs, as well as the less well-known lechwe and sitatunga antelope, and an abundance of freshwater invertebrates, amphibians and fishes. It also has about 1,300 different plant species (surpassed only by the Brazilian Pantanal wetland) and more than 400 species of bird.
However, this impressive array of biological diversity is facing increasing pressure from water abstraction, use of pesticides, drainage for development, over-grazing and, potentially, hydropower.
"The plight of wetland species is so often overlooked yet they face many serious threats - in particular due to increasing water use. This book not only provides some wonderful pictures of the highly diverse group of species found in the Okavango Delta, but also helps to raise awareness about the important role they play in this vital ecosystem," said Dr Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission.
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