Human causes of wetland degradation in Ruhumma wetland Muko Sub-county, Rubanda District
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Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on earth. They are areas permanently or periodically waterlogged. They offer the neighboring communities socio-cultural, economic and ecological values. Wetland resources in Uganda have been traditionally utilized by people as sources of materials for construction, crafts, furniture and as hunting and fishing areas. This study investigated human causes of Ruhumma wetland degradation in Rubanda district. The objectives of the study were to assess; the benefits and values of Ruhumma wetland ecosystem to the surrounding community, factors contributing to the loss of wetland and effects of wetland degradation on the surrounding communities and the environment. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection, simple random sampling was used to draw a sample of 36 people from residents operating and living in and around the wetland. Interviews, questionnaires and review of relevant literature were used to gather data. Quantitative data was summarized with aid of Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). The results showed that; crop growing, bee keeping, materials and fishing are the major benefits of Ruhumma wetland to the surrounding community. The major causes of Ruhumma wetland degradation are over cultivation, slope erosion and over harvesting of wetland resources with over cultivation being the major cause of degradation. The effects of Ruhumma wetland degradation are plant and animal species loss, reduced water levels, and altering water quality. In conclusion human factors are responsible for the dynamics and ecological changes of the wetland and this is mainly attributed to limited awareness.