The Challenges and Opportunities of Wetlands Management in Ethiopia: The case of Abijiata Lake Wetlands

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Addis Ababa University


Abijiata Lake wetlands are situated in Abijiata-Shalla National Park (ASLNP)ofCentral Rift Valley of Ethiopia. This wetland has contributing significant roles in providing ecosystem functions and producing a number of products and services-that are socially and economically important to the local community. They also support a large population of migratory and residential waterfowl. The study was conducted to assess the challenges and opportunities of Lake Wetland's management;and to recommendation future intervention measures for long term sustainable use. Different methods were used to collect primary and secondary data. The primary data were collected from 120 farm household; interviews and focus group discussions with different social groups, and key informants. The sample respondents were drawn from 3 kebeles adjacent to the lake wetlands. Moreover, land use/land cover change detection analysis was also made using satellite images (of 1973, 1986,2000 and 2009) and ground truth. Lake Abijiata and its wetlands provide the necesswy services for eco-tourism development and economic base for the local communities. The result indicate that more than 83% of people depend on the wetlands for different types of subsistence including fodder, fuel wood, mining and mineral salt extraction. In recent years, however, these wetlands are degrading progressively due to natural and human factors. Farmland expansion, sand mining, mineral salt extraction, over use of water for irrigation and other development intervention like soda Ash factory are among the major threats of wetland management. The land use/land cover change detection analysis of satellite images between 1973 and 2009 depicts that the wetland under the study is continually converted to other land uses: there is a continuous expansion; for human settlement from 3.20%in the year 1973 to 25. 61%in 2009, and from 2 7.81% in the year 1973 to 44.54%in the year 2009 for croplands. Importantly, Acacia woodland and wetlands around the lake were also reduced from 37.98% in 1973 to 18.02% in 2009 and from 31.01% in 1973 to 11.83% in 2009 respectively. Despite, the high dependence of the local people on Abijiata wetland resources for their livelihood; however, these resources are under continuous threats. Managing the wetland on the basis of basin concepts and involving local people in alternative income generating activity has been suggested as a means of reducing pressure on land use and also reducing the threat to Abijiata lake wetlands . Furthermore, the focal policy working on wetlands promulgations of regulations to govern wetland uses, capacity building for monitoring and control of wetland use, integrated planning for water ,land ,forest resources utilization as well as wetland change detection(the temporal and spatial variability of wetlands or LUILC change analysis)/monitoring seasonal changes, are recommended if possible.



Challenges, Opportunities, Management