Status of the protection zone along River Manafwa, Uganda
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Protection zones (riparian zones) are established and maintained under regulation 29 of environmental regulations 2000. These zones are to ensure that these (rivers) ecological systems are in healthy state. However, despite of having these regulatory policies in place, Rivers of Uganda are noted to face challenges of degradation like siltation, eutrophication, and detrimental flooding. Therefore, the main objective of the study was to examine the status of protection zone along river Manafwa. It achieved this objective by looking at I) percentage vegetation cover contributed by tree species and II) the extent of encroachment on the protected zone by cultivation activities. Fifteen line transects measuring one hundred meters were established on either side of the river in the area of study. And 150 sample units of quadrants measuring 10metres by 10metres were obtained for evaluation of vegetation percentage cover. On the same transects, a tape measure was drawn from the immediate waters to the cultivation activity. Thirty sample units were collected for the purpose of understanding the extent of encroachment. The results showed that the zones are poorly covered by vegetation (only 22.7% of every 10m*10m is covered by tree vegetation) and cultivation activities occur within a distance of 5 m from the riverbank instead of 100m which indicate heavy encroachment. It was also noted that the little vegetation cover was provided by only one exotic tree species (eucalyptus). The conclusion is therefore, the status of the protection zone of river Manafwa is poor and this could be the main cause of the problems rivers of Uganda are facing.