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Effects of Industrial Agriculture and Urbanization on Structure and Functional Organization of Macroinvertebrate of Coastal Streams in Cameroon

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: The impact of land use changes on watercourses is poorly documented in Cameroon. Therefore, this study examines the effects of agriculture and urbanization on water quality, the structure and functional organization of macroinvertebrates of streams in the coastal zone of Cameroon. Nine sampling stations including three per catchment area with different land occupations (agricultural, urban and forest) were selected. Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled monthly from February to July 2018 and the physicochemical variables were measured simultaneously. The urban and agricultural streams showed highly polluted waters with high nutrient and suspended matter content, whereas the forest stream waters are moderately polluted. In addition, the hierarchical ascending classification indicated a proximity in water quality between the agricultural and forest streams for which the main physicochemical variables did not vary significantly. With regards to macroinvertebrates, the forest watercourse is characterized by the proliferation of pollution-sensitive taxa, high diversity indices and complex trophic structuring, indicating its good ecological status. In contrast the urban watercourse, heavily polluted is characterized by low diversity indices reflecting a simplification of the structure of stands dominated by the pollution-tolerant collector-gatherer stands. The majority of biological indices and functional feeding groups were not significantly different between the agricultural and forest streams, suggesting a less pronounced impact of agriculture on macroinvertebrates. Our results showed that, riparian vegetation even though constituted of perennial crops, reduces the effects of agricultural inputs on streams and promotes the establishment of diversified macroinvertebrate communities.

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