Livelihood Activities that Impact on Sustainable Wetland use in Upper Nzoia River Basin, Kenya

William Sakataka, Peter Namisiko


Worldwide, countries are facing pressure to meet the livelihood needs of their fast-increasing populations. This often leads to overuse of natural resources and consequent encroachment on fragile ecosystems such as wetlands. The deteriorating state of wetlands and consequent threats to sustainability of livelihoods remains a matter of concern to many governments, especially in developing countries. This study aimed to elucidate the effects of livelihood activities on wetlands. The study used a combination of cross-cultural and cross-sectional, longitudinal survey to elicit information and data. Purposive and non-purposive sampling strategies were applied. The following data collection instruments were used: survey questionnaires, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, observation checklists, community vulnerability assessments, maps from Survey of Kenya, digital camera, geographical positioning and reference equipment, satellite images, and literature in journals and government reports. Stakeholder participatory forums of focus group discussions, community vulnerability assessments and key informants were used to evaluate and rank impact mitigation options in wetland conservation. Results of the study showed that encroachment does not follow any fixed pattern but, rather, is driven by existing conditions of poverty, pursuit of livelihoods in the wetland. The study concludes that wetland encroachment and subsequent degradation is caused by land hunger due to fast rising population, and that participatory management and control measures are best suited to stem further deterioration of wetlands and entrench their conservation. The findings are of significance to policy and extension support institutions, as well as communities in wetlands. The results may also assist researchers and other stakeholders in the furtherance of knowledge on wetland conservation for sustainable development

Keywords: Wetlands, Livelihood Activities, Conservation, Sustainable

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