Natural variability through time in the Okavango Delta system, Botswana
The Okavango Delta system in Botswana is one of the few remaining large wetlands in the world and has been ranked by various institutions as one of the most ‘ecologically critical regions’ in the world. As a result it has attracted a lot of attention from conservationists around the world. However, scientific studies in the Okavango Delta, particularly those informing the recently developed Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP), are based on short term data. Such short term records present a very static viewpoint of the ecosystem where the present status of the system is regarded as ‘stable’ and therefore must be maintained. Adopting a multi-proxy approach, my research will reconstruct past vegetation dynamics in the Delta to provide a detailed temporal understanding of the system’s response to disturbance. A better understanding of the dynamics is of importance to for the management of the ecosystem and will contribute to shaping policies and be incorporated into conservation management and planning for the Okavango Delta in the future.