The role of wetlands in lake ecological functions and sustainable livelihoods in lake environment: A case study on cross border Lake Jipe - Kenya/Tanzania
Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems. Their values and functions support other ecosystems and are significant to economic development. They once covered large areas of the world and are now among the rarest and most at-risk ecosystems. They are highly valued for their recreational, educational, scientific, aesthetic, spiritual and cultural values; and form an important component of lakes that provide critical functions influencing lake ecological functions. Despite the important roles in sustaining vibrant lake ecology, supporting economic development and elevating poverty, almost all wetlands in the world are threatened by diverse human induced factors. Lake Jipe striding across the Kenya-Tanzania international boundary is an important ecosystem to both countries. It provides habitats for various biotic communities, regulates hydrology, stores and purifies water and has significant economic benefit to the local communities in the lakes' environment. The lakes’ wetlands stabilize the shoreline, provide habitats for the Lake Fisheries, and remove sediments, nutrients and pollutants. This paper reviews Lake Jipe and associated wetlands values, threats, policy effectiveness in Lake management and community involvement in the management and conservation of a cross border lake. The study show that lack of integration in planning, natural resource use in the Lake Catchment, weak policy enforcement and destruction of wetlands around the lake has lead to loss of biodiversity, increased siltation and diversion of the feeder River Lumi. Associated impacts of this diversion include change in the Lake water quality, decline in fisheries, poverty prevalence and migration of the local fishing community. This paper recommends institutionalization of integrated lake management taking into cognizance integrated land use, sustainable resource use, river basin management and community involvement that focus on sustainable livelihoods.
- Conference Papers