Hardlife et al
Greener Journal of Environment Management and Public Safety Vol. 3 (2), pp. 043-052, July 2014.
ISSN: 2354-2276 © 2014 Greener Journals
Manuscript Number: 1212131026
The Implications for Loss and Degradation of Wetland Ecosystems on Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: Case of Chingombe Community, Zimbabwe
Zinhiva Hardlife*1, Chikodzi David1, Mutowo Godfrey1, Ndlovu Somandla2 and Mazambara Proud2
1Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences,
Great Zimbabwe University, P. O. Box 1235 Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
2Environmental Management Agency – Masvingo Region, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management, P. O. Box 85 Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
Emails:1dchikodzi@ hotmail.com, 1mutowogodfrey@ gmail.com, 2somainzim@ gmail.com
*Corresponding Author’s Email: hzinhiva@ gmail.com
Sustainable livelihoods based on wetland resources have proven to be very delicate. As a wetland ecosystem degrades, the livelihoods of most rural poor people deteriorate. This study assessed the livelihood challenges that the Chingombe community of Gutu district, Masvingo, Zimbabwe, encountered following the drying up of Mutubuki wetland. A total of 26 household heads and 6 key informants were directly involved as questionnaire respondents, interviewees, focus group discussion participants and subjects directly observed. Following the drying up of Mutubuki wetland, the range, quantities and quality of functions and products the ecosystem provided to the local population significantly declined. The degradation of the wetland significantly influenced the dwindling of livelihood options available to local households and worsened the plight of the rural poor. The residents experienced food insecurity, malnutrition, water shortages mostly during the dry season, income loss among other survival challenges. Engendering partnerships, coupled with national wetland policy realignment with wetland wise use would enhance opportunities for local community survival beyond wetland loss and degradation.
Keywords: wetland loss, wetland degradation, wetland livelihoods, wetland benefits, dryland wetland ecosystem, Mutubuki wetland.