Nthabiseng Mokhabuli, Makomoreng Fanana
Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress
alpine, degradation, design, rehabilitation, wetland
Theme V. Restoration, rehabilitation and after-use of disturbed peatlands
Lesotho’s alpine wetlands are rare ecological features in Southern Africa. They are distinct floristically and structurally from other wetland systems in Southern Africa. Their unique combination of peat-forming soil types and vegetation communities makes them worthy of international recognition.
Alpine wetlands in Lesotho are in a poor condition. Their degradation status can be attributed to two main factors; the climate which has become drier over the years and poor land use practices, overgrazing and trampling by livestock.
The extent of the desiccation and degradation of the wetlands has not been quantified but few examples quoted in literature, research and reports highlights the poor condition, and hence the need for a coordinated approach to their management.
Alpine wetlands are not common and as such there is limited global experience in restoration of alpine wetlands. Mountain peatlands are very difficult to restore and some areas are not easily accesible.
The following general design appraches have been used to secure remaining intact areas by: 1.stabilising headcut erosion, slow the discharge of the water from the wetland areas. 2.Encouraging the re-establishment of wetland vegetation.
The types of rehabilitation intervention that can be applied to the various wetlands are very much determined by the nature and size of the problems observed in each wetland. In all cases, removal of over-grazing pressure is essential to the success of the rehabilitation efforts.