Securing sustainable livelihoods through wise use of wetland resources: a case of upper Ruvuma sub basin, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study was conducted on the wetlands of the Upper Ruvuma sub basin to assess livelihoods and economic benefits of wetlands utilization. The Specific objectives were to: (a) examine the characteristics of wetlands in Upper Ruvuma sub basin, specifically in Songea urban district, (b) explore the socio–cultural and economic activities undertaken by local communities in the wetlands and the associated environmental impacts and, (c) assess the benefits of wetlands accrued to the communities, and how such benefits could be optimized without compromising the ecological and hydrological integrity of the wetlands. Purposeful and simple random samplings techniques were employed to select 123 respondents. The data were collected through structured questionnaires, key informant interviews, and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Descriptive statistical analysis and linear regression analysis were used in analyzing the collected data. While descriptive statistical analysis was used to assess the socio- economic characteristics of the respondents and wetlands utilization, linear regression analysis explored the factors influencing utilization of wetland resources. Wetlands activities include agricultural production, which was the most dominant socio-economic activity undertaken by (74.8%) of the respondents followed by sand collection (13%), fish farming (12%), and others. Activities not directly related to wetlands included petty, major businesses and private sector employment. Wetlands contribute about Tshs 1,863,414 per household per year as income. The number of dependents in households significantly influenced wetlands utilization. The study observed the significant land use/cover changes in the area, with subsequent decrease in swamp cover from 1079 ha to 685 ha between 1995 and 2015. It was observed that unsustainable agriculture, especially cultivation near river banks, sandy mining and clearance of vegetation, was the most degrading activity that caused soil erosion. It is concluded that the current situation in the study area is caused by limited initiatives to environmental conservation and lack of effective government support to enable community to engage in conservation activities. The study recommends planning for wetland friendly agricultural activities in order to ensure wetland conservation and sustainable contribution to household economy and food security.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QH77.T34M643)
Wetlend conservation, Ruvuma Sub Basin upper, Tanzania
Mokeha, S. M. (2017) Securing sustainable livelihoods through wise use of wetland resources: a case of upper Ruvuma sub basin, Tanzania, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.