Assessing wetland use and communities’ perceptions on wetland degradation: A case study of Kashambya wetland in Kabale District, Uganda
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The study was concerned with wetland use and community perceptions on wetland degradation. A case study of Kashambya wetland carried out in Kabale district (Uganda). It comprised 80 respondents from different villages surrounded by the wetland. Specifically the study assessed wetland use, examined community perceptions on the effects of wetland degradation and drivers of wetland degradation. It also looked at effects of degrading the wetland and solutions to wetland degradation. The data was collected by use of interview method, sampling strategy, observation method and questionnaires were distributed to respondents. With increasing poverty caused by population growth, coupled with land shortage and climate, wetlands in rural Uganda have continued to face degradation mainly due to conversion for agricultural, animal rearing, fishing and settlement purposes. Key informant interviews from Kabale district local government officials provided underlying drivers of wetland use and some respondents, while questionnaires were used to assess wetland uses. Majority (71.2%) reported crop growing as the major wetland use and the crops which dominated the wetland was maize respondents reported flooding as the most effect of wetland degradation and Respondents reported Sensitization of people (40%) as the main proposals to wetland degradation. The study provided the conclusion and recommended the need to sensitize and educate the community about the wetland values as it will make people to understand and appreciate them, More research is needed about wetland degradation and as this is done, more solutions or ideas will be identified that will conserve or protect wetlands, Provision of more funding to the Wetlands Management Department to operationalize the Environmental Project Force( EPF) and also carry out a nationwide sensitization, physical wetlands boundary demarcation and restoration and gazettement of all vital wetland, The current policy on pollution should be revised; the “Polluter Pays Principle” should be introduced in wetlands management and People should be involved in the planning, development and implementation of the wetlands management project.