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Rugezi Marsh: A high altitude tropical peatland in Rwanda

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Abstract

The Rugezi Marsh is an extensive peatland located in a mountain valley in the north of Rwanda. It is groundwater fed and is therefore a fen with a rich biodiversity. An IUCN endangered listed orchid species, Disa stairsii, occurs in the system as well as three Bryophytes: Lycopodiella cernua, Sphagnum cuspidatum and S. perichaetiale. Sphagnum perichaetiale is a new species recorded for Rwanda. The peatland has been degraded by diverse activities, such as draining, cultivation, and roads crossing the wetland. Uncontrolled burning regimes due to agriculture, as well as over-exploitation of non-timber forest and wetland products further impact the system. Consequently these activities have led to the lowering of the water table, peat desiccation and establishment of terrestrial invasive vegetation species. Local communities and Rwanda-at-large are dependent on this wetland for various goods and services ranging from production of fibre, fodder, protein to water supply and hydroelectricity. Conservation and proper management of the wetland, including sustainable restoration measures, are therefore of importance.

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Grundling, P. L., Grootjans, A. P., & Linström, A. (2018). Rugezi Marsh: A high altitude tropical peatland in Rwanda. In The Wetland Book II: Distribution, Description, and Conservation (Vol. 2, pp. 1307–1317). Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4001-3_152

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