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Research article2010Peer reviewedOpen access

Forest Cover and Stream Flow in a Headwater of the Blue Nile: Complementing Observational Data Analysis with Community Perception

Gebrehiwot, Solomon; Taye, Ayele; Bishop, Kevin

Abstract

This study analyses the relation of forest cover and stream flow on the 266 km(2) Koga watershed in a headwater of Blue Nile Basin using both observed hydrological data and community perception. The watershed declined from 16% forest cover in 1957 to 1% by 1986. The hydrological record did not reveal changes in the flow regime between 1960 and 2002 despite the reduction in forest area. This agrees with the perception of the downstream community living near the gauging station. The upstream community, however, reported both decreases in low flows and increases in high flows shortly after the forest cover was reduced. The upstream deforestation effect appeared to have been buffered by a wetland lower in the watershed. This study concludes that community perception can be a complement to observational data for better understanding how forest cover influences the flow regime.

Keywords

Blue Nile Basin; Community perception; Deforestation; Ethiopia; High flow; Low flow

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2010, Volume: 39, number: 4, pages: 284-294 Publisher: SPRINGER