An open-content, electronic journal published by the Animal Demography Unit
at the University of Cape Town

OdonataMAP: progress report on the atlas of the dragonflies and damselflies of Africa, 2010–2016

Les G Underhill, Rene Navarro, Alan D Manson, Jacobus (Lappies) P Labuschagne and Warwick R Tarboton

...The Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) are superb indicators of the quality of fresh water. All communities rely on water, and especially in rural areas water is used directly from rivers. The habitat of the Odonata represents the source of clean and reliable water. So, in a nutshell: "What is the use of dragonflies?" They are a signpost pointing to healthy freshwater habitat, and freshwater is a resource everyone needs. The dragonflies and damselflies are ambassadors for healthy freshwater ecosystems, and they can be used to monitor the quality of these systems. OdonataMAP is generating a data-rich baseline for the study of future changes in aquatic systems, at both local and global scales. So this atlas has the potential to influence government policy on the use of water resources, especially for the rural poor. No other taxon has the potential to be so politically prominent in this way....

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