EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Implications of Forest Cover Changes and Fire Management Practices in Kalwilo Area, North-western Province of Zambia

Lemmy Namayanga1, Ivan Lizaga2, Henry Sichingabula3, Pascal Boeckx2, and Kawawa Banda1
Lemmy Namayanga et al.
  • 1Integrated Water Resources Management Centre, Department of Geology, WRM Centre, The University of Zambia, P.O. Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia (;
  • 2Isotope Bioscience Laboratory - ISOFYS, Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000, Gent, Belgium (;
  • 3Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia (

The earth’s surface and its landforms are a sensitive result of geomorphic processes that tend to balance out. Zambia, together with central and Southern Africa, has been a land mass of the Mesozoic era and likely older. This old land mass has been subject to a complex history of erosion, uplift, faulting (particularly in eastern Zambia) and gentle warping. In Upper Zambezi Basin (UZB), Kabompo District, an interesting landform taking the sharp of an Octopus, a part of the Kalahari sands landform, seems to be a stable feature with a land cover type (vegetation) which it now supports. The Octopus Land Feature (OLF) from satellite imagery appears whitish and devoid of vegetation. Ground-truthing reveals a termitaria landscape with highly scattered shrubs. All around this feature, thick Cryptosepalum forests extending to distances of 20+ km can be observed interspaced with ‘’arms’’ of the OLF.

This landform may be a ‘’pan’’ in the dry season and a dambo in the wet season. Morphometric analysis of the OLF indicates that elongated transverse arms are sources of several streams arising from the interdune depressions of sand ridges that hold rainwater during the rainy season to overflow as sources of rivers that traverse the thick forests. This complex landform-land-cover ecosystem is at risk of degradation and destruction due to increasing human induced fires and commercial logging. Land cover and geomorphic processes play an influential role in maintaining a balanced and functional ecosystem. Conversion of natural landscapes for agriculture and logging often impacts soil integrity, nutrient fluxes, and native species assemblages. Such changes can affect watershed hydrology by altering rates of interception, infiltration, evapotranspiration, and groundwater recharge, resulting in changes to the timing and amounts of surface and river runoff.

This study seeks to understand the implications of land cover changes on the hydrology and materials (sediment & nutrients) through the Kalwilo Community Area (KCA) and the drying of the Mumbenji River. The wanton use of fire in opening up new agricultural areas has been noted to aid in the rapid destruction of forests in the study area. To this aim, a combined approach of soil and sediment sampling together with the use of remote sensing will be employed to establish a link between the rate of deforestation and the sedimentation of the Mumbenji River and its disappeared eflows. It is clear that the drying up of the Mumbenji River, which was once perennial, is a result of the disruption of the landscape system caused by anthropogenic activities.

How to cite: Namayanga, L., Lizaga, I., Sichingabula, H., Boeckx, P., and Banda, K.: Implications of Forest Cover Changes and Fire Management Practices in Kalwilo Area, North-western Province of Zambia, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-12100,, 2023.