Community livelihood activities as key determinants for community based conservation of wetlands in Uganda

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Abstract

Community-based Conservation (CBC) has been regarded as one of the most appropriate approaches to the sustainable utilization and conservation of natural resources. Wetlands are believed to provide attributes, functions, and services that positively affect the daily livelihoods of members of the local community. Bearing in mind the incentives wetlands provide, if community members are not involved in the activities aimed at the management and conservation of wetlands then they result in being degraded. This study was initiated to explore how community livelihood activities influence CBC of wetlands in Uganda. A cross-sectional research design was used to collect qualitative and quantitative data. A questionnaire survey was conducted among four hundred households to collect information concerning community livelihood activities taking place in wetlands. Additionally, more information was obtained from National Environment Management Authority, and Wetlands Management Department staff using another non-structured questionnaire. Key informant interviews and direct observations were also used to collect data. Overall, the gathering of materials for building and crafts, fuel wood collection, clay and sand mining and practicing agriculture in wetlands are some of the reasons that have caused wetland degradation. Low levels of awareness, unclear ownership of wetlands and inadequate funding has not enabled Agencies responsible for implementing the Policies and Laws aimed for protecting and conserving wetlands from being degraded. Therefore, these above mentioned problems must be addressed in order for wetland resources to be sustainably utilized and conserved by members of the local community.

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