This report is a synthesis of research implemented for the project on Wetlands-based livelihoods in the Limpopo basin: balancing social welfare and environmental security. The research was motivated by the dependency of many people on wetlands for their livelihoods. It was therefore founded on the basis that the potential of wetlands to contribute to livelihoods is closely related to their ability to maintain ecosytem functions (such as regulating river flows), which is a consequence of their unique hydrological characteristics. The research aimed to contribute to wetland management and ultimately contribute towards ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG7) through the maintenance of vital ecosystem services provided sustainable agricultural practices (in terms of sound hydrological and pollution management) and balanced exploitation of resources are practised.
The project aimed to contribute to enhancing food security and improving the livelihoods of wetland-dependent communities by increasing productivity of water and optimizing and maintaining wetland ecosystem services.
The most important achievements of the project are the new knowledge and tools captured in the three main outputs of the project – the Framework for inventory, the WETSYS tradeoff model, and the Guidelines for sustainable management - and the partnership and capacity building that resulted from implementation of the project that provide the basis for impact.