Interest in the biology of African 'wetlands' was initiated in the last century with the hypothesis that Lake Tanganyika was once part of a Jurassic sea, and was furthered by Cunnington's expedition at the beginning of this century which proved that it was not. In the late 1920's, ecological studies, encouraged by the growing importance of inland fisheries, were started hy British, French and Belgian biologists. Some twenty years later several government limnological research centres and fishery departments were established in tropical Africa, and scientific progress was accelerated. Scientific collaboration between the regions south of the Sahara was started formally in 1951 by the Scientific Council for Africa and stimulated by the International Biological Programme (1964-74) with its emphasis on biological productivity. Some of its interests were takcn on by SCOPE which recently selected continental wetlands as a Special Project; hence this book.
The five authors, with-Patrick Denny as editor, have made a very valuable contribution both to science and to thc management of Africa's natural rcsourccs: thcy have filled a gap in the synthesis of knowledge about Africa's environments which is long overdue. The term 'wetland' is used today in several different contexts. For this purpose, it excludes the seas and large open inland waters. which are too deep for rooted plants, but includes the huge areas of floodplains and dambos which may change seasonally from standing water to very dry lands.
`... this is an excellent book, which should not only be in academic libraries, but widely available in Africa.'
Hydrobiologia, 148 (1987)
`... this book is a major contribution to the understanding of biology, ecology and conservation of African wetlands. This is a valuable book and I strongly recommend it to all of those involved in research, conservation and management in this area.'
The Quarterly Review of Biology, 61 (1986)
One: Introduction.- 1. Wetland vegetation and associated plant life-forms.- Two: Water Plant Biology and Vegetation Dynamics.- 2. Submerged and floating-leaved aquatic macrophytes (euhydrophytes).- 3. Emergent plants of permanent and seasonally-flooded wetlands.- 4. Surface-floating aquatic macrophytes.- Three: Ecosystem Structure and Functioning.- 5. The structure and functioning of African euhydrophyte communities. The floating-leaved and submerged vegetation.- 6. The structure and functioning of African swamps.- Four: Problems, Management and Conservation.- 7. African aquatic weeds and their management.- 8. The conservation and management of African wetlands.- 9. African wetland vegetation - concluding perspective.- Five: Bibliography.- 10. Cross-indexed bibliography of African wetland plants and vegetation.- Author index.- Geographical index.- Systematic index.