Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Community Perception on Lake Victoria Basin Resources Degradation: Implications to Sustainable Management

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Community Perception on Lake Victoria Basin Resources Degradation: Implications to Sustainable Management

Article excerpt

Abstract

Degradation of Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) resources due to deforestation, illegal fishing and unsustainable farming practices is among the major challenge to the natural resources managers and the livelihood of surrounding communities. Several measures have been proposed to mitigate the situation. These measures range from policies, laws, regulations to technical options. Despite these efforts, adherence to these regulations and adoption of the proposed technologies is low. Among the factors that can influence household adoption of a particular technology is perception of the problem and the technology itself. This has not been thoroughly investigated and integrated in development and promotion of mitigation options. This research assessed the local community perception on the LVB resources, levels of degradation and the causes. The research was done in selected sites within LVB in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Data was collected through questionnaire interviews and focused group discussion to 334 respondents. Collected data was descriptively analyzed using means, frequencies, percentages and ranking. Results indicate that majority of community members perceive LVB resources to be currently more degraded than past twenty years. However, specific types of resources and levels of degradation do differ between countries. Degradation factors are personal, administrative, technical and policy related. Lack of alternatives is among the major driving forces to degradation activities. It is recommended that intervention efforts to reverse degradation situation need to consider local community perception and be of multiple nature to address technical, administrative and policy issues.

Keywords: adoption, Lake Victoria Basin, perception, resource degradation

1. Introduction

1.1 Background Information

Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) covering Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi is an important source of livelihood for about 30 million people which is about 25% of the all population of East Africa. The basin provides resources for fishing, agriculture, forestry, water transport and other economic activities important not only to the community within the basin but also to the countries covered by the basin. Degradation of the LVB resources has therefore great consequences and is of major concern to natural resources managers and politicians.

Despite its importance, resources degradation in the LVB is continuing at a rate that threatens its sustainability; deforestation, illegal fishing and unsustainable agriculture being the major causes. The degradation of the water resources in LVB is evidenced by water pollution, eutrophication and siltation. The situation is likely to worsen by the impacts of climate change which is likely to increase the temperature and affect rainfall distribution making some parts drier than used to be (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2010).

Various efforts have been made by both government and nongovernmental organization at regional and national levels to ensure sustainable utilization of the LVB resources (Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), 2010). These efforts include formulation of policies, regulation and laws, development and promotion of technological options (LVBC, 2010). Despite these efforts adherence to the laws, regulations and adoption of proposed technologies for sustainable utilization of the LVB resources is low. Household's decision to adopt a particular technology depends on the number of factors. Among the factors is perception of the problem and the technology (Bagheri et al., 2008; DeGraff et al., 2008). Experiences from other studies also indicate that often conflicts over resource uses arose from differences in perceived benefits by local communities and priority management objectives (Roe, Nelson & Sandbook, 2009). Limited understanding of the local community perception of the LVB resources in development and implementation of these measures can be contributing to the limited success of interventions to ensure sustainable utilization of LVB resources. …

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