Evaluation of Wetland Loss in Maragua Watershed, Murang’a County, Kenya

  • Jacinta M. Muema

Abstract

Wetlands are habitat to a wide range of biodiversity and thus accommodate some of the world’s most valuable resources. Unfortunately, their ecosystem services are continuously being lost to destructive anthropogenic activities. Systematic wetland mapping and inventorying to establish wetland status is necessary. A study was therefore done to determine the wellness of wetlands; and the temporal and spatial changes in wetlands in Maragua watershed. Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Topographic Wetness Index (TWI) were used to extract wetlands areas. Additionally, interviews, storytelling events, stakeholder workshop, focus group discussions and personal observations were used to obtain qualitative data on human activities in wetlands and the challenges facing wetlands in the study site. In 1987 the area under wetlands in Maragua was 24.1 ha, in 1999 it was 12.8 ha and by 2018 wetlands covered only 10.1 ha. Further, the wetlands are more concentrated on the downstream side of catchment. Additionally, wetland cultivation, planting of exotic trees and fodder grass farming are the main human activities taking place within the wetlands. It was observed that the local communities are neither aware of the adverse effects of their activities on the wetlands nor the potential benefits of conserved wetlands. With the help of various stakeholders, the County Government of Murang’a has opportunities to create awareness and educate the residents of the study area about the potential benefits of conserving their wetlands.
Keywords: awareness, conservation, ecosystem services, small wetlands, stakeholders
Published
Jan 29, 2019
How to Cite
MUEMA, Jacinta M.. Evaluation of Wetland Loss in Maragua Watershed, Murang’a County, Kenya. JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE RESEARCH IN ENGINEERING, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 4, p. 160-170, jan. 2019. ISSN 2409-1243. Available at: <http://sri.jkuat.ac.ke/ojs/index.php/sri/article/view/739>. Date accessed: 26 may 2019.