Impact of implementation of community-based wetland management plan on the conservation of lake Mulehe wetland in Kisoro, Uganda
Increased encroachment, mismanagement and degradation of wetland resources such as Lake Mulele in Uganda has called for continuous involvement of surrounding people into their management. The Ugandan government and other conservation agencies such as IUCN, Wetland Management Department have encouraged the implementation of CBWMPs since 1992. This study’s objective was therefore to determine the impact of Community Based Wetland Management Plan on conservation of Lake Mulehe wetland in Kisoro, South Western Uganda. The study ascertained land cover changes in Lake Mulehe wetland, examined impacts of CBWMP on community perceptions and practices towards wetland conservation and established the emerging threats to the conservation of L. Mulehe wetland. The study undertook both qualitative and quantitative research designs that included observational survey methods, household interview, FDGs and Key informant interviews. Land cover analysis identified seven (7) key land cover types (Built up, forest, tea plantation, woodland, bush land, and subsistence farming). A small increment of 0.07% in wetland land cover between 2004 and 2018 with subsistence and bushland taking a front case with 64.04% and 11.20% respectively was also observed. L. Mulehe CBWMP positively influenced the conservation perceptions and practices of the surrounding communities thus 68% respondent agreed that there was improvement in vegetation, water and soils although the imagery analysis revealed otherwise. A 86.7% correlation between age of respondents and participation in conservation activities also confirm a positive impact of CBWMP on the wetland. The CBWMP has also boosted the conservation status of L. Mulehe. In addition, CBWMP has influenced conservation of L. Mulehe wetland through perception change. Such positive impacts of CBWMP in Mulele can be used by both NEMA and Ministry of water and environment in enhancing conservation of wetlands in other areas among different community members.