The Macroinvertebrate Communities Of Two Upland Streams In Eastern Zimbabwe With Reference To The Impact Of Forestry
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Benthic macroinvertebrates and physico-chemical parameters of the water were examined from two fast flowing streams, the Nyahode River which drains a pine monoculture catchment and the Haruni River which drains an undisturbed deciduous forest catchment in the Chimanimani Mountains, Eastern Zimbabwe. Benthic samples and environmental data were collected in October 2004, December 2004 and January 2005. The water quality was similar in many respects but turbidity was significantly higher (p<0.05) in the Nyahode River compared to the Haruni River (mean 17.1 NTU and 6.0 NTU respectively). Conductivity was almost three times higher in the Nyahode (66 µS cm-1) than the Haruni (24 µS cm-1). The impact of forestry on faunal composition was evident on Ephemeroptera (Euthraulus, Afronurus and Dicercomyzon), Plecoptera (Neoperla spio) and Trichoptera (Macrostemum capense) (EPT) richness. Absence of shredders from both streams is a result of the low retention of Course Particulate Organic Matter (CPOM) in the streams due to the rapid flows whilst dominance of filterers suggests that the retention of organic material seems to be limited to Fine Particulate Organic Matter (FPOM). These results indicate that unless reference conditions are established first, results from biotic indices could be completely misleading because absence of some taxa could not be due to human impact but is just a natural phenomenon. Many of the taxa collected from both rivers were sensitive to water quality change (ASPT, 5.6 to 7.8) indicating good water quality which is attributable to the currently underdeveloped nature of the catchment.