Community-based mapping of ecosystem services. A case study of Nakatongoli wetland in Mityana District, Uganda
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Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on earth; they are areas permanently or periodically waterlogged which offers the neighboring communities socio-cultural, economic and ecological values. Wetland resources in Uganda have been traditionally utilized by people as a source of materials for construction, crafts, furniture, and hunting and fishing areas. This study intends to use community-based mapping to assess the provisioning services of Nakatongoli wetland in the Mityana district. This survey was conducted from Mityana district in central Uganda, using community-based mapping of ecosystem services. A sample of 60 participants was randomly selected from three parishes (Miseebe, Bulera and Nalyankanja) to participate in the study. They were interviewed on their views towards provisional services, wetland change, causes of these changes, government failure to achieve conservation of the wetland, and measures being put in place. GIS and remote sensing were also used to assess the land cover changes between different years. Results showed that Nakatongoli wetland extent has been changing since 2000-2020 due to different land cover changes for example dense forest has increased to about (16%), wetland increased to (9.2%), built-up increased by (184%) since 2000 while grassland has reduced by (40%), agriculture increased significantly by (2913%) and open water reduced by (46.7%). With the past provisional services being resource extraction (31.9%), followed by crop cultivation (17%), hunting (17%), cultural use (13.2%) the least being animal rearing (10.4%) and fishing (10.4%). The current most provisional services from the wetland are resource harvesting (28.5%), followed by crop growing (28.09%). The parish with the most degradation being Nalyankanja in the upper catchment which is evidenced by limited fodder for livestock, seasonal supply of water to the people from the wetland, continued disappearing of some wetland flora species like papyrus followed by Bulera in the middle catchment and the least degraded being the lower catchment of Nakatongoli wetland which is Miseebe. It’s in this section of wetland where there is a constant supply of water to the people, evergreen fodder for livestock, and also contains most of the wetland flora species for example papyrus. On the causes of degradation, respondents said it's mostly due to over-cultivation (27.4%), overgrazing (23.1%), overpopulation (22.2%), overharvesting (17.0%), economic growth (5.7%), and pollution (4.7%). In order to conserve Nakatongoli wetland from degradation, there is a need to improve on the enforcement, strengthen government and non-government institutions, increase public awareness and participation in conservation and also increase the funds given to local government from the government.