GEP  Vol.6 No.12 , December 2018
Living Off Wetlands: A Case Study of Mara Bay and Masirori Wetlands, Tanzania
This study was undertaken to help highlight the negative impacts of economic activities on wetlands in East Africa with a specific focus on Mara Bay and Masirori wetlands, Tanzania, a region where the local communities still harness wetland resources for economic sustenance. Key economic activities and the negative impacts of the income-generating activities on the wetlands are identified, including the main goods harnessed, level of dependency of the locals to the wetlands, and the level of environmental knowledge of the locals on the wetlands’ ecosystem services. Both qualitative and quantitative tools and techniques viz.: questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, market surveys and spreadsheet analysis were used in this study. The proportion of wetland users involved in papyrus harvesting, food crop cultivation and fishing was 30%, 25% and 24%, respectively while charcoal/firewood and grass for livestock accounted for 12% and 7%, respectively. Significant differences in incomes for charcoal (p < 0.05) across the four villages were recorded but farming, fishing, mat making, herding and fish mongering were non-significant. About 6% of those interviewed had some considerable knowledge on wetland ecosystem services, while the rest (94%) lacked information. Issues identified as having detrimental impacts on the wetlands’ ecosystem services included conversion of sections of the wetlands into farmlands, grazing, charcoal burning, unsustainable fishing, overharvesting of papyrus and brick-making. Farming was found to be a major income-generating activity within the two wetlands. Other important economic activities were charcoal burning, fishing, mat making and fish mongering. The findings from the research are useful for devising appropriate strategies for wetland conservation. Such measures may include assigning wetland ecologists to the village governments, valuation of the wetlands, commissioning of a price and resource regulatory board for the wetland goods, creation of wetlands monitoring program, a fining regime system and a roll-out of mass environmental education in the wetlands regions.
Cite this paper
Omolo, D. , Langat, P. , Koech, R. and Jiang, Y. (2018) Living Off Wetlands: A Case Study of Mara Bay and Masirori Wetlands, Tanzania. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 6, 43-60. doi: 10.4236/gep.2018.612003.
[1]   Ajwang’ Ondiek, R., Kitaka, N., & Omondi Oduor, S. (2016). Assessment of Provisioning and Cultural Ecosystem Services in Natural Wetlands and Rice Fields in Kano Floodplain, Kenya. Ecosystem Services, 21, Part A, 166-173.

[2]   Barbier, E. B. (1993). Sustainable Use of Wetlands Valuing Tropical Wetland Benefits: Economic Methodologies and Applications. The Geographical Journal, 159, 22-32.

[3]   Beuel, S., Alvarez, M., Amler, E., Behn, K., Kotze, D., Kreye, C., & Becker, M. (2016). A Rapid Assessment of Anthropogenic Disturbances in East African Wetlands. Ecological Indicators, 67, 684-692.

[4]   Brooks, T., & Thompson, H. S. (2001). Current Bird Conservation Issues in Africa. The Auk, 118, 575-582.[0575:CBCIIA]2.0.CO;2

[5]   Chmura, G. L., Anisfeld, S. C., Cahoon, D. R., & Lynch, J. C. (2003). Global Carbon Sequestration in Tidal, Saline Wetland Soils. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 17, 1111.

[6]   Costanza, R., D’Arge, R., De Groot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., Limburg, K., Naeem, S., O’neill, R. V., Paruelo, J., Raskin, R. G., Sutton, P., & Van den Belt, M. (1997). The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital. Nature, 387, 253-260.

[7]   Crisman, T. (2001). Wetlands of East Africa: Biodiversity, Exploitation, and Policy Perspectives.

[8]   Davidson, C. N. (2014). How Much Wetland Has the World Lost? Long Term and Recent Trends in Global Wetland Area. Marine and Freshwater Research, 65, 934-941.

[9]   Davis, J. A., & Froend, R. (1999). Loss and Degradation of Wetlands in Southwestern Australia: Underlying Causes, Consequences and Solutions. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 7, 13-23.

[10]   Dessu, S. B., & Melesse, A. M. (2013). Impact and Uncertainties of Climate Change on the Hydrology of the Mara River Basin, Kenya/Tanzania. Hydrological Processes, 27, 2973-2986.

[11]   Devetak, I., Glažar, S. A., & Vogrinc, J. (2010). The Role of Qualitative Research in Science Education. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 6, 77-84.

[12]   Dixon, A. B., & Wood, A. P. (2003). Wetland Cultivation and Hydrological Management in Eastern Africa: Matching Community and Hydrological Needs through Sustainable Wetland Use. Natural Resources Forum, 27, 117-129.

[13]   Durigon, D., Hickey, G. M., & Kosoy, N. (2012). Assessing National Wetland Policies’ Portrayal of Wetlands: Public Resources or Private Goods? Ocean & Coastal Management, 58, 36-46.

[14]   Hettiarachchi, M., Morrison, T. H., & McAlpine, C. (2015). Forty-Three Years of Ramsar and Urban Wetlands. Global Environmental Change, 32, 57-66.

[15]   Hoffman, C., Melesse, A., & McClain, M. (2011). Geospatial Mapping and Analysis of Water Availability, Demand, and Use within the Mara River Basin. Miami, FL: Florida International University.

[16]   Kadykalo, A. N., & Findlay, C. S. (2016). The Flow Regulation Services of Wetlands. Ecosystem Services, 20, 91-103.

[17]   Kassenga, G. R. (1997). A Descriptive Assessment of the Wetlands of the Lake Victoria Basin in Tanzania. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 20, 127-141.

[18]   Kirk, R. E. (1995). Experimental Design: Procedures for the Behavioral Sciences (3rd ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

[19]   Koohafkan, P., Nachtergaele, F., & Antoine, J. (1998). Use of Agro-Ecological Zones and Resource Management Domains for Sustainable Management of African Wetlands. In Wetland Characterization and Classification for Sustainable Agricultural Development. Rome: FAO/SAFR.

[20]   Majamba, H. I. (2004). Implementing the Ramsar Convention in Tanzania: Salient Features of Legislation and Policies for the Management and Conservation of Wetlands.

[21]   Mango, L. M., Melesse, A. M., McClain, M. E., Gann, D., & Setegn, S. (2011). Land Use and Climate Change Impacts on the Hydrology of the Upper Mara River Basin, Kenya: Results of a Modeling Study to Support Better Resource Management. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 15, 2245.

[22]   Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Wetlands and Water Synthesis. Washington DC: World Resources Institute.

[23]   Mombo, F. M., Speelman, S., Van Huylenbroeck, G., Hella, J., Pantaleo, M., & Moe, S. (2011). Ratification of the Ramsar Convention and Sustainable Wetlands Management: Situation Analysis of the Kilombero Valley Wetlands in Tanzania. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, 3, 153-164.

[24]   Mombo, F., Speelman, S., Hella, J., & Van Huylenbroeck, G. (2013). How Characteristics of Wetlands Resource Users and Associated Institutions Influence the Sustainable Management of Wetlands in Tanzania. Land Use Policy, 35, 8-15.

[25]   Musamba, E. B., Ngaga, Y. M., Boon, E. K., & Giliba, R. A. (2011). Impact of Socio-Economic Activities around Lake Victoria: Land Use and Land Use Changes in Musoma Municipality, Tanzania. Journal of Human Ecology, 35, 143-154.

[26]   Ostrovskaya, E., Douven, W., Schwartz, K., Pataki, B., Mukuyu, P., & Kaggwa, R. C. (2013). Capacity for Sustainable Management of Wetlands: Lessons from the WETwin Project. Environmental Science & Policy, 34, 128-137.

[27]   Patton, D., Bergstrom, J. C., Moore, R., & Covich, A. P. (2015). Economic Value of Carbon Storage in US National Wildlife Refuge Wetland Ecosystems. Ecosystem Services, 16, 94-104.

[28]   Peh, K. S. H., Balmford, A., Bradbury, R. B., Brown, C., Butchart, S. H. M., Hughes, F. M. R., Birch, J. C. et al. (2013). TESSA: A Toolkit for Rapid Assessment of Ecosystem Services at Sites of Biodiversity Conservation Importance. Ecosystem Services, 5, 51-57.

[29]   Ramsar Convention Secretariat (2013). The Ramsar Convention Manual: A Guide to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) (6th ed.). Gland: Ramsar Convention Secretariat.

[30]   Sakane, N., Alvarez, M., Becker, M., Böhme, B., Handa, C., Kamiri, H. W., Mogha, N. G. et al. (2011). Classification, Characterisation, and Use of Small Wetlands in East Africa. Wetlands, 31, 1103-1116.

[31]   Schuijt, K. (2002). Land and Water Use of Wetlands in Africa: Economic Values of African Wetlands. IIASA Interim Report, IR-02-063, Laxenburg: IIASA.

[32]   Scoones, I. (1991). Wetlands in Drylands: Key Resources for Agricultural and Pastoral Production in Africa. Ambio, 20, 366-371.

[33]   Sritharan, S., & Burgess, N. D. (2012). Protected Area Gap Analysis of Important Bird Areas in Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology, 50, 66-76.

[34]   Taylor, A. R. D., Howard, G. W., & Begg, G. W. (1995). Developing Wetland Inventories in Southern Africa: A Review. Classification and Inventory of the World’s Wetlands, 118, 57-79.

[35]   The United Republic of Tanzania (2012). Basic Demographic and Socio Economic Profile, 2012 Population and Housing Census.

[36]   Turner, K. (1991). Economics and Wetlands Management. Ambio, 20, 59-63.

[37]   Van Dam, A., Kipkemboi, J., Mazvimavi, D., & Irvine, K. (2014). A Synthesis of Past, Current and Future Research for Protection and Management of Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus L.) Wetlands in Africa. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 22, 99-114.

[38]   Wu, S., Carvalho, P. N., Müller, J. A., Manoj, V. R., & Dong, R. (2016). Sanitation in Constructed Wetlands: A Review on the Removal of Human Pathogens and Fecal Indicators. Science of the Total Environment, 541, 8-22.