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Title: The ecology and livelihoods of the local community in Ombeyi wetland - Nyando Sub County, Kenya
Authors: Obodi, Achieng‟ Veryl
Keywords: Ombeyi wetland
Issue Date: Sep-2018
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: Wetlands cover about 4–6% of the earth‟s surface and are the most productive ecosystems on earth. However, they are under threat from natural and anthropogenic factors with more than half having disappeared, largely through factors related to increase in human population such as; conversion to agricultural use, urbanization, transport and communication, human settlement and infrastructure expansion. This study assessed water quality, vegetation status, socio-economic status as well as livelihood options of local communities adjacent to Ombeyi wetland, Kenya. Water quality (pH, Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and turbidity) were obtained from nine sites within the wetland. Vegetation attributes; species composition and frequency were assessed using ecological data collection techniques involving random quadrat method. A questionnaire was used to assess the socio-economic activities as well as livelihood options among the local communities. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics tests. The findings indicate variations in mean values of select physico-chemical characteristics at various sites in the wetland. There was significant site effect on mean water turbidity (F1,8. =29.95, P<0.01) pH (F1,8. =8.13, P<0.01), Dissolved Oxygen (F1,8. =5.19, P<0.01) with the high turbidity values being observed at site S7 (129±8.5 NTUs) and low turbidity values at S1 (82.7±1.33 NTUs). pH ranged from 6.7±0.21 to 7.9±0.46 in sites S1 and S6 respectively. The low values of dissolved oxygen were recorded at site S6 (6.2±0.16mgL-1). Fifteen plant species were encountered in the wetland and vegetation varied in composition amongst sites with sites S2 and S4 recording the high numbers and site S9 recording low numbers of species. The three abundant plant species were Centella asiatica, Pycreus nitidus and Trifolium vesiculosum. Cyperus papyrus was observed to have been exploited in many areas within the wetland. The most common activity practiced by the community was fishing and cattle grazing, which had a negative correlation with the water pH, dissolved oxygen (DO) and turbidity. This high level of dependence on farming and grazing is likely to have contributed to the general decline of wetland vegetation.These findings will contribute towards improvement of policy implementation and awareness screation on the need to protect the wetland through sustainable exploitation of wetland vegetation and natural resources.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Environment and Resource Development

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