Title: Assessment of the impact of wetland restoration on ecosystem services in Rufuha wetland, Ntungamo district- Uganda

Author: Moreen Katusiime

Supervising Institution: IHE Delft  - Institute for Water Education

Year: 2023



To respond to the increasing wetland loss, Ugandan government has spearheaded restoration actions. Rufuha wetland, a rural wetland in Ntungamo district, south western Uganda is among the wetlands that has been restored. It is important to the people around it because of the ecosystem services it provides. In order to contribute to decision making and justify the need for restoration of wetlands, the study aimed at assessing the ecosystem services and evaluating the impact of restoration in Rufuha restored wetland. A semi-quantitative analysis of ecosystem services (ES) was conducted using RAWES tool which involved field observation and semi- structured interviews with wetland users. The underlying causes of change in key ecosystem services were identified using DPSIR analysis.

Results from the rapid assessment for the different ecosystem services provided by Rufuha wetland showed that provisioning and supporting services were higher in the restored than in the degraded wetland. Regulating services scored higher values in the restored unit, and were mostly absent in the degraded unit. Cultural services did not show much difference in the degraded and restored units. A wider range of ecosystem services was found in the restored unit as compared to the degraded unit. These results back up the argument that restoration helps bring back the ecosystem services lost through activities of degradation. Key ecosystem services such as habitat use, water provisioning, harvesting of wetland vegetation and flood control were found to be affected by human activities of encroaching on the wetland. As the restored unit provides a wider number of benefits than the degraded unit, restoration of the remaining degraded parts of the wetland will be important for conservation of Rufuha wetland in the future. Regular monitoring and implementation of the wetland laws, as well as addressing the causes of degradation will also be important for continued delivery of ecosystem services.