Landuse/cover changes and the perceived impacts on the ecosystem goods obtained from Budhumbuli wetland, Jinja City
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With increasing population coupled with land shortage in Uganda, wetlands continue to face degradation due to mainly conversion for agricultural and settlement purposes. The objective of this study was to generate information on land use/cover change dynamics and the perceived impacts on the ecosystem goods obtained from Budhumbuli wetland for proper wetland management. The study utilized images for two time periods (2000-2010 & 2010-2020) of less than 10% cloud cover Landsat TM/ETM+/MSS temporal images (30 m) down-loaded from United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Explorer to establish the extent of the wetland lost to the different wetland uses/cover types. The images were classified using supervised classification in the ArcMap software version 10.8. The classified images were validated in a ground truthing exercise using Global Positioning System (GPS) to improve on the classification accuracy. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered among ninety-eight (98) households randomly selected from within those near the wetland boundary to generate information on local perceptions of the impacts of the changes. Significant changes in wetland use/cover were between 2000 and 2010 for example agriculture from 16.70% to 24.06%, builtup from 0.11% to 21.35%. Major factors responsible for these changes were subsistence farming as it is the primary source of livelihood for the adjacent communities. Majority (57%) of the respondents believed that wetland changes did not have significant impacts on the ecosystem goods they obtained. This possibly could be because the changes that have occurred have not affected the obtained ecosystem goods or the effects are so insignificant to be noticed. Locally perceived threats to wetlands were mainly conversion of wetland to other uses which accounted for 98%. The study recommends for in-depth sensitization of the local people about the impacts of land use/ cover change is needed to keep local people in the know of the consequences of their activities in the wetland. There’s also need for enforcement of the current conservation measures such that they are effectively implemented.
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