Understanding stakeholder perceptions of wetland ecosystem services to support conservation and restoration activities in Wakiso District, Uganda

Kadoma, Anthony (2023) Understanding stakeholder perceptions of wetland ecosystem services to support conservation and restoration activities in Wakiso District, Uganda. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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With more than one billion people directly depending on wetlands globally for their food, fresh water, and other livelihood support systems, it is crucial to conserve them for the benefit of people, climate, and biodiversity. There is a scarcity of information on stakeholder perceptions that affect wetland management, and stakeholders involved. The key objective of this doctoral research is to understand stakeholder perceptions on wetland ecosystem services and the role they play in conservation and restoration. Four research questions guided the study: What are the past and present wetland conservation and restoration legislation in Uganda? Who are the stakeholders involved, their roles and motivations? What perceptions do stakeholders have on wetland ecosystem services and how they relate to conservation and restoration activities? and how stakeholders' perceptions are integrated into wetland conservation and restoration activities and what are the missing gaps?

The research was conducted in Wakiso District Uganda using a qualitative multi-site case design. Forty stakeholders from national, district and community levels participated in the research. An ecosystem services framework provided the overarching conceptual lens for the research.

There are past and present efforts to conserve and restore wetlands in Wakiso District and these are supported by national laws and policies as well as domesticated international ones such as the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of 1971 and Conservation of Biological Diversity. Government projects to conserve wetlands are largely unsuccessful. However, more needs to be done as the rate of wetland conversion and degradation is on the increase in the district. Various stakeholders are involved in wetland conservation and restoration activities with divergent interests and motivations for their involvement. Stakeholders at the community level were found to be the least involved when it comes to planning for and implementation of wetland conservation and restoration activities. Wetlands among others are perceived as a source of services and materials, fertile lands, cheap and affordable, “Godgiven”, not prioritized by the central government, places for spiritual practices, tourist attractions as well as being highly degraded ecosystems. Integration of stakeholder perceptions is very limited for civil society and community level stakeholders.

Perceptions play a key role in influencing human actions and need to be considered when planning any intervention. Empowerment and agency are crucial and necessary for effective wetland conservation and restoration. Without citizen agency, wetland resources are mismanaged as the stakeholders are not sufficiently empowered to demand accountability from those who are mandated by law to care for such resources.

The study offers the groundwork for recommendations relating to strengthening stakeholder agency, valuing perceptions, a call to increased participation, prioritising conservation, and restoration of wetlands as well as a realisation that government alone cannot successfully conserve and restore wetlands in Wakiso District.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Supervisor's Name: Renaud, Professor Fabrice and Perry, Professor Mia
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83936
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2023 16:28
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2023 10:21
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83936
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83936

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