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Posts tagged Bangweulu Swamps

Lakes and Wetlands in Tanzania, Zambia and Neighbors

11.1S 29.8E

April 22nd, 2011 Category: Lakes, Wetlands

Tanzania and Zambia - April 15th, 2011

Three lakes can be observed across the top of this image: (from right to left) Lake Rukwa, in Tanzania, Lake Tanganyika, shared by Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zambia, Lake Mweru Wantipa, in Zambia, and Lake Mweru, shared by Zambia and the DRC.

Sediments give Lake Rukwa a tan color, while Lake Tanganyika appears blue and Lakes Mweru Wantipa and Mweru look greenish-blue.

Visible by the bottom of the image is Lake Bangweulu, the Bangweulu Swamps and the Bangweulu Flats or floodplain. Situated in the upper Congo River basin in Zambia, the Bangweulu system covers an almost completely flat area roughly the size of Connecticut or East Anglia, at an elevation of 1,140 m straddling Zambia’s Luapula Province and Northern Province.

Bangweulu Wetlands Ecosystem, Zambia

August 3rd, 2009 Category: Lakes

Zambia - June 21st, 2009

Zambia - June 21st, 2009

The Bangweulu Wetlands Ecosystem covers a large area exhibiting great biodiversity. It comprises the Bangweulu Swamps and associated grassy floodplain known as the Bangweulu Flats, in northern Zambia, surrounding most of Lake Bangweulu except to the west. Unfortunately, the ecosystem is under environmental stress and in need of conservation.

With a long axis of 75 km and a width of up to 40 km, Lake Bangweulu’s permanent open water surface is about 3,000 km², which expands when its swamps and floodplains are in flood at the end of the rainy season in May. The combined area of the lake and wetlands reaches 15,000 km². The lake has an average depth of only 4 m.

The Bangweulu system is fed by about seventeen rivers of which the Chambeshi (the source of the Congo River) is the largest, and is drained by the Luapula River.

The environmental stress is caused by human settlement and hunting (especially of the black lechwe), fishing, and cattle-grazing. Some of the chiefs of the area have attempted to regulate fishing and hunting, but many in the Bangweulu basin are affected by poverty and do not have viable alternatives to support themselves.

Not helping matters is the fact that the wetlands today do not include a viable wildlife reserve. The Isangano National Park in the north-east is defunct, having no management or protection.

Lakes and Wetlands in Central Africa

April 29th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Central Africa - April 9th, 2009

Central Africa - April 9th, 2009

Several lakes can be seen in this part of Central Africa. The large lake crossing the image from the top center to the middle is Lake Tanganyika in central Africa. The lake is divided between four countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Zambia, with the DRC (45%) and Tanzania (41%) possessing the majority of the lake.

It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, in both cases after Lake Baikal in Siberia. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.

To the East of Lake Tanganyika is Lake Rukwa, in southwestern Tanzania. The waters of the alkaline Lake Rukwa appear brown here, in contrast to the navy blue of the other lakes in the area.

Rukwa lies at an elevation of about 800 metres, in a parallel branch of the rift system. The lake has seen large fluctuations in its size over the years, due to varying inflow of streams. Currently it is about 180 km long and averages about 32 km wide, making it about 5760 square kilometres in size.

South of Lake Tanganyika is the smaller Lake Mweru (also spelled Mwelu), located on the border between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is a freshwater lake on the longest arm of the Congo River. Lake Mweru makes up 110 km of the total length of the Congo, lying between its Luapula River (upstream) and Luvua River (downstream) segments.

Finally, Lake Bangweulu can be seen southeast of Lake Mweru, at the very bottom. It is part of one of the world’s great wetland systems, comprised of the lake itself, the Bangweulu Swamps and the Bangweulu Flats or floodplain.

Situated in the upper Congo River basin in Zambia, the Bangweulu system covers an almost completely flat area roughly the size of Connecticut or East Anglia, at an elevation of 1,140 m straddling Zambia’s Luapula Province and Northern Province.

It is crucial to the economy and biodiversity of northern Zambia, and to the birdlife of a much larger region, and faces environmental stress and conservation issues.

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