Assessing the trade-offs between urbanization and the flow of ecosystem services with associated effects on people’s livelihoods, a case of Kitintale zone xii wetland.
Mulindwa, Isaac M.
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Urbanization is a global phenomenon that has led to significant changes in land use, economic activity, and culture, resulting in the conversion of non-urban areas into urbanized ones. This urban expansion often comes at the expense of wetland ecosystems, which provide essential services such as water purification and flood regulation. This study aimed to assess the trade-offs between urbanization and the flow of ecosystem services, specifically focusing on the case of Kitintale Zone XII wetland. The specific objectives of the study were (i) to examine spatial and temporal changes in the wetland between 2008 and 2022, (ii) identify changes in ecosystem services after urbanization, and (iii) to assess the livelihood coping strategies of residents. Household and Key Informant Interviews were conducted on Household heads and community leaders respectively, and the data collection tools used were Questionnaires and Checklists. A GIS Spatial Temporal Analysis and Chi-square tests were the data analysis tools used. Results showed that there was a decline in wetland coverage between 2008 and 2022 with an increase in built-up areas. Flood regulation and food provision were found to be the most prominent ecosystem services provided by the wetland prior to urbanization according to the findings, with flood regulation rated the highest in terms of quality by majority of the respondents. Also, food provision and water purification were rated as satisfactory by most of the respondents in terms of quality. The findings also showed that wetland food traders were mostly affected by increased competition for resources due to urbanization, whereas subsistence farmers were mostly challenged by limited farmland as a result of urbanization. Findings also indicated that subsistence farmers engaged in sustainable farming practices such as crop rotation to mitigate the challenge of limited farmland. On the other hand, wetland food traders undertook crop diversification to mitigate the challenge of increased resource competition. It was recommended that to promote wetland conservation and sustainable urban adaptation, it's essential to launch awareness campaigns emphasizing wetlands' ecological significance, offer training for new livelihood opportunities, collaborate with NGOs and research institutions, and implement clear policies and incentives. Additionally, fostering community involvement and ongoing public education are key components of sustaining these efforts.