The existence of lakes owes much to the presence of catchment areas or water towers, from where they derive some or a majority of their waters. One such example of a catchment area is the Mount Elgon catchment, a transboundary catchment situated at the border between Kenya and Uganda. On the Kenyan side, the catchment consists of a 73,705 hectares forest managed by Kenya Forest Service, a 17,200 hectares nature reserve managed by the Bungoma County Government and a 16,916 hectares national park under the custody of Kenya Wildlife Service (Nabutola et al., 2022).
In 2012, RIPPLE Africa worked with local community members and district authorities to develop local bylaws to protect a 40km stretch of lakeshore along Lake Malawi in Nkhata Bay District, Malawi, Africa. To support, advocate, and regulate these fish conservation bylaws, RIPPLE Africa has set up local Fish Conservation Committees whose members include fishers and non-fishers. The Committees, together with the District Fisheries Department, manage the local permit system, and monitor and regulate illegal activity in each Committee’s designated area.
The Nakasongola District Climate Change Pilot Project documented and shared indigenous knowledge on climate change and contributed to the ongoing debates on how best to mitigate and adapt to climate change in the Nakasongola district in Uganda, while also informing practitioners' understanding of climate change causes, manifestations and effects at local levels. By creating awareness among local landowners and farmers on the value of indigenous tree species adapted to the harsh environment, the project decreased land clearing and persuaded farmers to preserve trees.
Nabajjuzi wetland, a Ramsar site, is located in Masaka district central Uganda some 120km southwest of Kampala. Nabajjuzi wetland remains relatively intact despite a long history of resource extraction by local communities. However growing use of wetland products for commercial purposes as well as subsistence use has led to increased levels of harvesting. Some of the surrounding areas have been modified and are built up into trading centres and small towns and this has further caused an increase in demand for resources.
The Kagera Basin, which lies within the four countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, is characterized by low-production subsistence agriculture and widespread poverty. Severe land degradation in the area is linked to loss of soil fertility caused by population pressure and primitive farming methods. The basin countries rank among the world's poorest countries. Land cover depletion including deforestation is wide-spread with almost total absence of reforestation activities.
This project introduced collaborative management to the Bururi Forest Nature Reserve through rehabilitating degraded areas and facilitated an agreement between the local environmental associations around the reserve and the government agency "OBPE." This project conducted environmental and socio-economic studies of the forest and initiated income-generating activities like beekeeping. Furthermore, the project raised awareness among the local population about the importance of the forest for the community and provided improved wood stoves in order to reduce deforestation for firewood.
This project sought to respond to increased to increased environmental pressures from climate change, and to create and expand incentives to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services in the South Kivu and Rusizi River cathments.
BirdLife Partners from Kenya (NatureKenya), Uganda (NatureUganda), Rwanda (Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda) and Burundi (Association Burundaise pour la Protection des Oiseaux) are implementing a project in the Lake Victoria Basin which aims to empower local organizations so that they are better equipped to address the linked challenges of poverty and biodiversity loss. Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake, and the largest tropical lake in the world. The swamps, forests and islands in and around Lake Victoria are important for a diversity of wildlife.
The transboundary Lake Kivu and Rusizi River basins are very important for biodiversity and provide many ecosystem services such as supply of freshwater, food from fishing and agriculture, pollination, soil fertility and erosion control, carbon sequestering, the provision of non-timber forest products, as well as providing aesthetic and recreation experiences. These landscapes are currently facing a multitude of threats arising from unsustainable practices and poor land and catchment management.
Yala wetland is a biodiversity rich and diverse ecosystem comprised of the Yala River, Yala swamp and numerous satellite lakes which serve as habitat for birds, haplochromines and cichlid fish species that long disappeared in Lake Victoria and numerous other species. The wetland faces anthropogenic threats such as reclamation of wetlands for farming, burning and over-harvesting for papyrus crafts and cooking fuel, fishing grounds, accessibility paths and sand harvesting.
Lake Victoria's Yala Wetland is made up of mainly papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) stands. It is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area that hosts many bird species found only in papyrus stands, some of which can only be found in Lake Victoria swamps. Two of these birds, papyrus yellow warbler (Chloroptera gracilinostris) and papyrus gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri) are listed as globally threatened species which require urgent conservation action.1 The swamp provides social, economic and ecological benefits, values and functions to the community and its biodiversity.