Water quality in forest and village ponds in Burkina Faso (western Africa)

Zongo, B., et al., 2017. Journal of Forestry Research

Original research (primary data)
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Forest ecosystems help conserve the quality of water resources in aquatic habitats. The conservation of biological diversity in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems remains a communal concern. Aquatic ecosystems and resources are vulnerable but can be preserved and protected by forests. In sub-Saharan regions of Africa, water from ecosystems such as ponds still play important role in the livelihood of local populations. Water from temporary ponds is used by local populations for multiple needs; however, in this part of the world, the population is increasing, thus increasing human needs and activities and land use in the region. Land-use changes lead to deforestation, land degradation and the decline in freshwater, affecting human health and well-being. Forest degradation leads to the decline in ecosystem goods and services, particularly those related to watersheds. This study conducted in eastern Burkina Faso aimed to assess water quality of temporary ponds in protected forest areas (reserves) and surrounding villages. It was conducted in 61 temporary ponds where physical, chemical and biological variables were measured, such as water surface area, depth, transparency, macrophyte cover, pH, dissolved O2, conductivity, nutrient concentrations and algae biomass. The results showed that at p < 5%, water surface area (p = 0.02), depth (p = 0.00), nutrient content (p = 0.00), and algae biomass (p = 0.04) were significantly higher outside reserves than inside reserves. In contrast, macrophyte cover (mean cover percentages 53 vs. 44.5%) and water transparency (p = 0.02) were higher inside reserves. The variations in conductivity and pH were not significant. All trends showed the influences of human activities on water characteristics and the role forests and land cover had in preventing negative human impacts and disturbance of temporary ponds. Forests and land cover are important to water quality conservation and algae biomass regulation in temporary ponds. Protecting and managing forests is therefore an essential part of future strategies for limiting algal blooms and their negative consequences, maintaining water quality and providing clean water to citizens.

Case studies

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-046-1
  • Intervention type: Protection
  • Intervention description:

    Protected areas including reserves (e.g. forestry and fauna reserves) and national parks

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: Yes
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Reduced water quality  Positive Physical, chemical, and biological variables as indicators of water quality: nutrient concentration (nitrates, ammonium and phosphates-phosphorus) water transparency pH Dissolved oxygen Macrophyte coverage algal biomass (indicator of eutrophication) surphace depth
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    eastern regions of Burkina Faso (West Africa) between the latitudes 10°560300 and 12°4701000N and longitudes 1604000 and 1°2402300E (Fig. 1) belonging to the Sudanian zone (tropical type)

  • Country: Burkina Faso
  • Habitat/Biome type: Tropical and subtropical forests |
  • Issue specific term: Not applicable


  • Notes on intervention effectivness: effectiveness measures compared to study sites outside protected areas
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Not applicable
  • Compare effectivness?: No
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: Not applicable
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: No
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Not reported
  • Ecosystem measures:
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: No
  • Impacts for people: Not reported
  • People measures:
  • Considers economic costs: No
  • Economic appraisal conducted: No
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Quantitative
  • Is it experimental: Yes
  • Experimental evalution done: In-situ/field
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Study is systematic: