Vulnerability Assessment of Wetland Landscape Ecosystem Services Using The DPSIR Model.
Nalujja, Mariam Bruce
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Lubigi is one of the largest wetlands in Central Uganda and just like any other critical natural ecosystem, it plays a range of roles in our day-to-day life including but not limited to environmental, hydrological and socioeconomic functions. This important resource is however so fragile and has suffered deterioration hence putting its life at stake due to over exploitation and encroachment from the people around. If no proper responses and immediate actions are taken to curb this, there is a serious worry that, in the long run, the whole system might flip and recovering it will be so hard if not impossible; this definitely has a very negative impact onto the livelihoods of the people around as well as the country at large. Several studies have been undertaken before regarding the wetland ecosystem using GIS, Remote Sensing and other scientific methods but unfortunately most of these studies employ models that consider only a few of the parameters that are required to study and understand the wetland ecosystem to the core which would obviously help in developing an adaptive management approach for the wetland. The objective of this study was therefore, to assess the vulnerability of Lubigi wetland landscape ecosystem services using the DPSIR model which on the other hand focuses on the parameters that the other models tend to leave out. Data in form of imagery was collected for the years 1990, 2000 and 2015, and execution done using the respective software namely ArcGIS, QGIS and Envi Classic; analysis of the images was finally done to make meaning of the results got from the study; the analysis was basically to measure and determine the changes that have occurred within the study area over the years respective of the study period that was used, and also to what extent the wetland is vulnerable to its threats. These statistics together with the driving forces were used to calibrate a model using the IDRISI Selva software to predict the land cover changes of the year 2035, and what could possibly happen in the near future if the issue of encroachment is not handled with great attention; the prediction shows that Lubigi wetland is expected to be potentially most vulnerable to increase in temperatures and human activities such as urbanization and agricultural expansion by the year 2035. From the analysis of the study, a realization was made that the vulnerability of Lubigi wetland is subjective to population changes within the area i.e., the higher the population, the more the encroachment onto the wetland thus the higher the vulnerability. Furthermore, the wetland holds a high vulnerability specifically in the areas of Namungoona and Bwaise, and this is because of big numbers of people in the area and the market activities or businesses that take place within these areas. Identification of the most appropriate conservation measures and response management strategies should therefore be done and applies to such hotspots within the wetland.