GEP  Vol.6 No.12 , December 2018
Living Off Wetlands: A Case Study of Mara Bay and Masirori Wetlands, Tanzania
ABSTRACT
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.
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