Assessment of temporal primary production in tropical inland swamp wetlands of Uasin Gishu County, Kenya
Josephine M. Mulei
Donald F. Otieno
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Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems offering valuable ecosystem and socio-economic services. Worldwide they are threatened by encroachment due to increasing human population. Limited research has been done on the integrity of the ecosystems and their benefits to the surrounding communities in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. The study assessed the spatial variations in the physicochemical quality of water and soil and plant production in four freshwater swamps of Uasin Gishu County. Physico-chemical properties data was collected at an interval of one month for one year while that on nutrients was collected at an interval of three months for one year. Primary production was assessed using 0.25m2 quadrats laid systematically along transects at peak biomass. All data was subjected to analysis of variance test and multiple relationships existing between biomass and physicochemical parameters were tested using principal component analysis. Significant (P < 0.05) spatial variations in the physico-chemical properties and plant biomass were recorded. Plant biomass was mainly influenced by DO, TN, TP, Fe and the pH of the water and Na concentration in the soil. Physicochemical attributes vary significantly in the swamps and production is high despite their small size. Their protection and conservation should be considered.