Utilization and management of wetlands by local communities around Nyaruzinga in Bushenyi District
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Uganda is endowed with exceptional wetlands resources ranging from lake systems and river floodplains. All the wetlands are potentially suitable for agriculture because of having plenty of water and high soil fertility; thus wetlands can be among the resources for poverty reduction. However, it is important to note that while wetlands have been demarcated and also local people taught about wetlands conservation benefits but their utilization and management of Nyaruzinga in Bushenyi district has not been fully documented thusthe study was carried to assessutilization and management of wetlands by local communities around Nyaruzinga wetland and it was guided by objectives to; to assess the importance of wetlands to communities around Nyaruzinga wetland, to document community based wetland management activities around Nyaruzinga wetland and to analyze the challenges local community face in accessing and utilizing the Nyaruzinga wetland. Data was collected using a semi structured questionnaire with open ended questions and a sample of 63 people wasinterviewed. Data was later analyzed in SPSS to generate statistical summary tables. The study found that local communities of selected village of Kacuncu, Kikuba and kyeitembe utilize different resources from Nyaruzinga wetland especially water, fish and papyrus resources. As a result of these resources, local community benefit from the wetland through tangible and none tangible benefits that include water for domestic use and support to dry season agriculture, provision of handcrafts, building materials, and food resources such as fish, yams, vegetables, waste disposal and tourists attractions. The study revealed different management activities as controlled harvest of wetland resources to avoid over extraction, monitoring the wetland and involvement in the promotion of awareness as well as training of other staff. It was further noted that respondents lacked decision making powers over wetland encroachers. The study further revealed that opportunities such as generation of more employment opportunities to the people and market opportunities would be crated once wetland land is carefully managed and it’s based on these findings that the study recommends the need to involve local community participation in management activities of the wetland and increase on conservation awareness by the wetland management staff and lastly the study recommends that other alternative sources of wetland products be identified in order to reduce the stress on the wetland ecosystem and to achieve sustainable utilization of these resources.