Seasonal Papyrus Biomass Harvesting Patterns and its Implications on Productivity in Nyando Floodplain Wetland, Lake Victoria Basin, Kenya

P. J. K. Rongoei, S. T. Kariuki


Papyrus production not only maintains the structure and function of the wetland but also meets the needs of the surrounding communities who rely on them directly. Seasonal changes in rainfall patterns has influenced the productivity of Nyando wetland yet there is need to understand the influence of such changing conditions on the provisioning services. Although there have been studies done in these wetlands, there is inadequate understanding on the implication of biomass harvesting on the growth attributes of the papyrus plant in the face of changing seasons. This study focused on Nyando floodplain wetland located in the Eastern part of the shores of Lake Victoria which is a lifeline to many rural communities living around the lake. Papyrus biomass harvesting patterns were assessed in two study sites of Nyando wetland and at different seasons in order to determine its implication on papyrus productivity. Participatory tools, field survey, interviews, observation, field measurements and laboratory measurements were used. The results show the area harvested was different between sites and between seasons in Wasare (107.9 ± 2.7 m2) dry and wet season (88.8 ± 3.1 m2). Biomass and height were critical growth attributes that were affected by harvesting frequency and changes in rainfall patterns. Understanding harvesting patterns is important for planning and management of wetland ecosystem so as to continue providing materials while maintaining the structure and function of the wetland.


Papyrus Biomass, Harvesting Patterns, Season, Productivity, Nyando Floodplain

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