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 highlights the wetlands with a combined impact from all uses of no or low impact. Almost 8 percent of the wetlands inventoried in the National Wetlands Information System show no impacts from current use and are shown as dark blue points in the map. These used but non-impacted wetlands are concentrated in Amuria, Katakwi, Soroti, and Kaberamaido Districts, areas with more traditional land use and lower population densities (NFA, 1996; UBOS, 2002b).

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).