Influence of Emerging Economic Interests on Management of Resource Access in Awoja Watershed
Keywords:Economic Interests, Watershed MAnagement, Climate Change
This study presents the contextual circumstances that define access in Awoja watershed, particularly the constellations of means, relations, and processes that enable various actors to derive benefits from resources in the Watershed. The objective of the study was to identify the influence of emerging economic interests on managing the access to resources in the watershed, thereby linking resource exploitation to watershed degradation. The study was carried out in Soroti, Katakwi and Amuria the hot spots of draughts and floods and the increasing degradation in Awoja. A cross sectional study design using both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods was employed. Factor Analysis and a Logistics Regression Model were used to analyze household survey data gathered from 180 randomly selected households. Focus Group Discussions and key informantsâ€™ interviews were also used to generate qualitative data used to explain relationships among variables and to analyze local perceptions on the relationships.
From the factor analysis seven factors were perceived to have been linked to management of access to watershed resources of which four factors were significantly correlated: Increasing interests in watershed resources (r=0.425 P<0.001), stakeholder conflicts of interests (r=0.379 P<0.01), changes in economic trends in the watershed (r=0.482 P<0,001), and household wealth status (r=0.253 P<0.01). From the Logistical Regression results, increasing interests in the wetlands had significant negative influence on control of access to watershed resources.While changes in household needs, household wealth status and civil society interests in the watershed had increasing influence on watershed management the rest of the factors had a decreasing influence on watershed management.
From focus group discussions and Key Informants Interviews revealed that commoditization rice and charcoal, fuzzy environmental protection rules and elite capture by watershed management institutions were some of the main emerging practices linked escalating degradation in Awoja. Dye to the increasing economic interests by communities and local leaders in Awoja watershed resources, reducing both degradation and marginalization of within the watershed can only be possible if a diversification program with alternative livelihoods are introduced within the watershed.
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