Hove and Chapungu
Greener Journal of Geology and Earth Sciences Vol. 1 (1), pp. 013-022, August 2013.
ISSN: 2354-2268 © 2013 Greener Journals
Manuscript Number: 071113716
Human Perceptions on Degradation of Wetland Ecosystems: The Case of Magwenzi Wetland in Chivi District; Zimbabwe
Hove Crecious and *Chapungu Lazarus
Lazarus Chapungu, Great Zimbabwe University, Department of Geography and Environmental Science Box 1235, Masvingo.
*Corresponding Author’s Email: lchapungu @ gmail.com,
Phone 00263 772 248 931
Wetlands are critical natural resources that serve various purposes including environmental, hydrological and socio-economic functions. However, this important resource is so fragile and has suffered deterioration due to human activities such as cultivation, grazing, water abstraction among others. Several current studies have studied wetland ecosystem changes using GIS and remote sensing and other scientific methods. These studies lack information on people’s perceptions. In this study, degradation of Magwenzi wetland ecosystem was assessed based on local people’s perceptions. The Story Telling Approach (STA), questionnaire surveys, interviews and field observations were used to collect data. Stratified random sampling technique was used in the selection of respondents. The study found that human activities such as wetland cultivation, water abstraction and cattle grazing have resulted in the alteration of ecosystem functions and interactions. There have been reported changes in land cover, species richness, species evenness and the hydrology of the wetland. We conclude that humans perceive themselves as the critical driving force behind ecosystem degradation as their activities negatively affect wetland ecosystems by changing the type, number and interactions of vegetative and animal species on the wetland.
Keywords: Perceptions, Human impacts, Wetland, Ecosystem, Biodiversity.