The Uganda National Wetlands Policy commits the Government to “the conservation of wetlands in order to sustain their ecological and socio-economic functions for the present and future well-being of the people” (MNR, 1995). Government agencies and community-based wetland resource user groups thus need to know where existing exploitative practices undermine productivity and threaten future supplies of wetland products and services.

The standardized wetlands inventory for the National Wetlands Information System can provide these data because it classifi es each wetland use according to its level of impact on the wetland system. This information can be converted into an index to classify each wetland according to the combined impacts of all wetland uses.

This index can help to manage wetland resources more optimally. Wetlands with an index reflecting no or low impacts from their use are closer to a sustainable use pattern and more likely to continue to provide benefits to Ugandans, now and in the future. In contrast, wetlands classified as being highly impacted by use are at greater risk of undermining their future supply of wetland products and services. Depending on the range of different wetland uses and the level of associated impacts, wetland degradation can lead to decreased water quality, depleted fuel sources, curtailed crop yields, or diminished fish catches.

This map displays all those wetlands whose index value indicates medium to very high impacts resulting from wetland use. Lira District has the greatest number of wetlands with very high impact use (red points). A large number of these wetlands can also be found in Dokolo, Amolatar, and Jinja Districts. High wetland impacts can also be found in the districts of Ntungamo, Kisoro, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge, Tororo, Mbale, and Moyo.

Sources: International boundaries (NIMA, 1997), district administrative boundaries (UBOS, 2006a), water bodies (NFA, 1996; NIMA 1997; Brakenridge et al., 2006), and combined impacts from all wetland uses (authors’ calculation based on WID, 2006).