, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1081–1095 | Cite as

Imbalance of Ecosystem Services of Wetlands and the Perception of the Local Community towards their Restoration and Management in Jimma Highlands, Southwestern Ethiopia

  • A. MogesEmail author
  • A. Beyene
  • L. Triest
  • A. Ambelu
  • E. Kelbessa
Wetlands in the Developing World


Wetlands provide vital services for the livelihoods of local peoples; however, the ecological integrity of wetlands in Ethiopia has not yet been studied. In this study, we investigated the main ecosystem services of wetlands among different land use types, incorporating local perception toward wetland management. Six wetlands were selected from forested, agricultural and urban areas in the Jimma highlands. A total of 332 local residents within a 5-km radius of each wetland were surveyed. An additional 34 development agents and district and zonal experts were interviewed. The provisioning and cultural services were found to surpass the regulatory and supporting services of wetlands in agricultural and urban land uses compared with wetlands located in the forest. Although most individuals positively viewed wetland regulation and supporting services, the majority of households (66 %) were not interested in conserving wetlands because of small landholdings and the need to meet their livelihoods. Consequently, the vital regulatory and supporting services of impacted agricultural and urban wetlands are gradually becoming limited. Urgent action is, therefore, required to restore and protect these wetlands by promoting alternative livelihoods and improving the agricultural productivity of small landholders.


Wetlands Ecosystem services Local people’s perception Ethiopia 



The authors would like to thank Jimma University, Ethiopia for financial support. We are grateful to Mr. Yihun Abdie for his support in the preparation of GIS map. We are also thankful to local community and government administrators for their cooperation and support during data collection.


  1. Abebe T, Seyoum A, Feyssa DH (2014) Benefits of wetland conservation interventions to local households in southwestern Ethiopia: empirical evidence from attributes based valuation. Journal of Environmental Science and Water Resources 3(3):060–068Google Scholar
  2. Ambelu A, Mekonnen S, Silassie AG, Malu A, Karunamoorthi K (2013) Physicochemical and biological characteristics of two Ethiopian wetlands. Society of Wetland Scientists 33(4):691–698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Awulachew SB, Yilma AD, Loulseged M, Loiskandl W, Ayana M, Alamirew T (2007) Water resources and irrigation development in Ethiopia. International Water Management Institute, ColomboGoogle Scholar
  4. Bamba A (2004) The Ramsar convention on wetlands. In: Asmelash NO (ed) Proceedings of the national consultative workshop on the Ramsar convention and Ethiopia. Environmental Protection Authority, Addis Ababa, pp 7–11Google Scholar
  5. Beyene A, Kassahun Y, Addis T, Assefa F, Amsalu A, Legesse W, Kloos H, Triest L (2012) The impact of traditional coffee processing on river water quality in Ethiopia and the urgency of adopting sound environmental practices. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 184:7053–7063CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brauman KA, Daily GC, Daurte TK, Mooney HA (2007) The nature and value of ecosystem services: an overview highlighting hydrological services. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 1(32):67–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buckton S (2007) Managing wetlands for sustainable livelihoods at Koshi Tappu. Danphe 16:12–13Google Scholar
  8. Chapman LJ, Balirwa J, Bugenyi FWB, Chapman C, Crisman TL (2001) Wetlands of East Africa: biodiversity, exploitation and policy perspectives. In: Gopal B, Junk WJ, Davis JA (eds) Biodiversity in wetlands: assessment, function and conservation, vol 2. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, pp 101–131Google Scholar
  9. Cooper A, Shine T, McCann T, Tidane DA (2006) An ecological basis for sustainable land use of Eastern Mauritanian wetlands. Journal of Arid Environments 67(1):116–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crecious H, Lazarus C (2013) Human perceptions on degradation of wetland ecosystems: the case of Magwenzi Wetland in Chivi District; Zimbabwe. Greener Journal of Geology and Earth Sciences 1(1):013–022CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Daily GC (1997) Valuing and safeguarding earth’s life-support systems. Nature’s services: societal dependence on natural ecosystems. Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  12. De Groot R (1992) Functions of nature: evaluation of nature in environmental planning, management and decision making. Wolters-Noordhoff, GroningenGoogle Scholar
  13. De Groot R (2006) Function-analysis and valuation as a tool to assess land use conflicts in planning for sustainable, multi-functional landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning 75:175–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Groot RS, Wilson MA, Boumans RMJ (2002) The dynamics and value of ecosystem services: integrating economic and ecological perspectives: a typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services. Ecological Economics 41:393–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deribe S (2007) The Ramsar convention on wetlands and the status of Ethiopia. In: Mengistu AA (ed) Proceedings of the public meetings on harnessing the water resources of Ethiopia for sustainable development in the New Ethiopian Millennium Forum for Environment. Forum for Environment, Addis Ababa, pp 13–16Google Scholar
  16. Di Falcon S, Veronesi M (2011) Managing environmental risk in presence of climate change: the role of adaptation in the Nile basin of Ethiopia. Institute for Environmental Decision (IED), Working paper 15, JEL classification: D80, Q18, Q54Google Scholar
  17. Dixon AB (2002) The hydrological impacts and sustainability of wetland drainage cultivation in Illubabur, Ethiopia. Land Degradation & Development 13:17–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dixon AB, Wood AB (2003) Wetland cultivation and hydrological management in Eastern Africa: matching community and hydrological needs through sustainable wetland use. Natural Resources Forum 27:117–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dixon AB, Wood AP (2007) Local institutions for wetland management in Ethiopia: sustainability and State intervention. In: Community-based water law and water resource management reform in developing countries. CAB International, pp 130–145Google Scholar
  20. U.S. EPA (2002) Methods for evaluating wetland condition: using vegetation to assess environmental conditions in wetlands. Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC. EPA-822-02-020Google Scholar
  21. EPA US (2006) Direct and indirect impacts of urbanization on wetland quality: wetlands and watershed article series. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  22. Epsilon International R & D (2011) A climate change country assessment report for Ethiopia. Forum for Environment, Addis AbabaGoogle Scholar
  23. Finlayson CM, Davidson NC (1999) Summary report. In: Global review of wetland resources and priorities for wetland inventory supervising scientist report 144. Canberra, pp 1–13Google Scholar
  24. Gebresllassie H (2014) Wetland degradation in Ethiopia: causes, consequences and remedies. Journal of Environment and Earth Science, 4(11):40–48Google Scholar
  25. Gernes MC, Helgen JC (2002) Indexes of biological integrity (IBI) for large depressional Wetlands in Minnesota. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, MinnesotaGoogle Scholar
  26. Getachew M, Ambelu A, Tiku S, Legesse W, Adugna A, Kloos H (2012) Ecological assessment of Cheffa Wetland in the Borkena Valley, northeast Ethiopia: macroinvertebrate and bird communities. Ecological Indicators 15:63–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gichuki J, Guebas FD, Mugo J, Rabuor CO, Dehairs F (2001) Species inventory and the local uses of the plants and fishes of the Lower Sondu-Miriu wetland of Lake Victoria, Kenya. Hydrobiologia 458:99–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gowa E (ed) (2009) Rwanda state of environment and outlook: our environment for economic development. Rwanda Environment Management Authority, KigaliGoogle Scholar
  29. Hailu A (2003) Wetlands research in south-western Ethiopia: the experience of the Ethiopian wetlands research programme. In: Abebe YD, Geheb K (eds) Wetlands of Ethiopia: proceeding of a seminar on the resources and status of Ethiopia’s wetlands. IUCN, Addis Ababa, pp 37–48Google Scholar
  30. Hailu A (2007) Potential wetland resources of Ethiopia: use and threats. In: Mengistu AA (ed) Proceedings of the public meetings on harnessing the water resources of Ethiopia for sustainable development in the new Ethiopian millennium forum for environment. Forum for Environment, Addis Ababa, pp 1–11Google Scholar
  31. Hundera K (2007) Traditional forest management practices in Jimma Zone, Southwest Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Education and Science 2(2):1–9Google Scholar
  32. IWMI International Water Management Institute (2006) Working Wetlands: a new approach to balancing agricultural development with environmental protection, Available via DIALOG. Accessed on 20 Sept 2013
  33. Jogo W, Hassan R (2010) Balancing the use of wetlands for economic well-being and ecological security: the case of the Limpopo Wetland in southern Africa. Ecological Economics 69:1869–1876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kassa M (2012) Ethiopian’s PHE spotlight: integrated practical success stories and challenges from field. Ethio Wetlands and Natural Resources Association, Addis AbabaGoogle Scholar
  35. Kotze DC (1996) How wet is a wetland? An introduction to wetland hydrology, soil and landforms. Wetland Use Booklet 2.Share-Net. Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, South AfricaGoogle Scholar
  36. Lamsal P, Pant KP, Kumar L, Atreya K (2015) Sustainable livelihoods through conservation of wetland resources: a case of economic benefits from Ghodaghodi Lake, western Nepal. Ecology and Society 20(1):10. doi: 10.5751/ES-07172-200110 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lannas KSM, Turpie JK (2009) Valuing the provisioning services of wetlands: contrasting a rural wetland in Lesotho with a peri-urban wetland in South Africa. Ecology and Society 14(2):1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lavers T (2012) ‘Land grab’s development strategy? The political economy of agricultural investment in Ethiopia. Journal of Peasant Studies 39(1):105–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. MA Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2003) Ecosystems and human well-being: a framework for assessment. Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  40. MA Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: wetlands and water synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  41. Manuel PM (2007) Cultural perceptions of small urban wetlands: cases from the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada. Wetlands 23(4):921–940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McCartney MP, Houghton‐Carr HA (2009) Working wetland potential: an index to guide the sustainable development of African wetlands. Natural Resources Forum 33(2):99–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McInnes RJ (2013) Recognizing wetland ecosystem services within urban case studies. Marine and Freshwater Research 65(7):575–588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mekonnen T, Aticho A (2011) The driving forces of Boye wetland degradation and its bird species composition, Jimma, Southwestern Ethiopia. Journal of Ecology and the Natural Environment 3:365–369Google Scholar
  45. Mereta ST, Boats P, De Mister L, Goethals PLM (2013) Development of a multimetric index based on benthic macroinvertebrates for the assessment of natural wetlands in Southwestern, Ethiopia. Ecological Indicators 29:510–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ramsar Convention Secretariat (2006) The Ramsar Convention Manual: a Guide to the Convention on wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971), 4th edn. GlandGoogle Scholar
  47. Rebelo LM, McCartney MP, Finlayson CM (2010) Wetlands of Sub-Saharan Africa: distribution and contribution of agriculture to livelihoods. Wetlands Ecology and Management 18(5):557–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schuyt KD (2005) Economic consequences of wetland degradation for local population in Africa. Ecological Economics 53:177–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Seelig B, DeKeyser S (2006) Water quality and wetland function in the Northern Prairie Pothole Region, NDSU, North Dakota State University, Fargo, Water Quality Program, Northern Plains and Mountain RegionGoogle Scholar
  50. Solomon M (2004) Socio-economic determinants of wetland cultivation in Kemise, Illubabor Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia. Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa 20(1):93–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Soni RN, Bhatt SA (2008) Periodical ecological study of an urban pond near Vadodara, Gujarat, India. In: Sengupta M, Dalawari R (eds) Proceedings of Taal 2007: The 12th World Lake Conference, pp 1591–1596Google Scholar
  52. Stuip MAM, Baker CJ, Oosterberg W (2002) The socio-economics of wetlands. Wetlands International and RIZA, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  53. Tamene B, Kelbessa E, Bekele T (2007) Ethnobotany of the wetland vegetation of Cheffa, Ethiopia: contribution to biodiversity conservation. Multidisciplinary Journal of the African Academy of Sciences 3:279–285Google Scholar
  54. TEEB The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (2009) TEEB for national and international policy makers.URL:
  55. Tilahun A, Soromessa T, Kelbessa E, Dibba A (2011) Floristic composition and community analysis of MengeshaAmba Mariam Forest (Egdu Forest) in Central Shewa, Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Biological Science 10(2):111–136Google Scholar
  56. Turner RK, van den Bergh JCJM, Söderqvist T, Barendregt A, der Straaten JV, Maltby E, van Ierland EC (2000) Ecological-economic analysis of wetlands: scientific integration for management and policy. Ecological Economics 35:7–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Turpie J, Lannas K, Scovronick N, Louw A (2010) Wetland ecosystem services and their valuation: a review of current understanding and practice. In: Malan H (ed) Wetland valuation. The Water Research Commission, Limpopo Province, pp 1–132Google Scholar
  58. Turyahabwe N, Tumusiime DM, Kakuru W, Barasa B (2013) Wetland use/cover changes and local perceptions in Uganda. Sustainable Agriculture Research 2(4):95ppGoogle Scholar
  59. UNEP United Nation Environmental Protection (2008) Biodiversity and ecosystem services: bloom or bust. ABN AMRO Bank N.V. United Nation Environmental Protection, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  60. Verhoeven JT, Setter TL (2010) Agricultural use of wetlands: opportunities and limitations. Annals of Botany 105(1):155–163Google Scholar
  61. Woldu Z, Yeshitela K (2003) Wetland plants in Ethiopia with examples from Illubabor, Southwestern Ethiopia. In: Abebe YD, Gehebe K (eds) Wetlands of Ethiopia: proceeding of a seminar on the resources and status of Ethiopian wetlands. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Nairobi, pp 49–57Google Scholar
  62. Wondafrash M (2003) Wetlands, birds and important bird areas in Ethiopia. In: Abebe YD, Geheb K (eds) Wetlands of Ethiopia: proceeding of a seminar on the resources and status of Ethiopia’s wetlands. IUCN, Addis Ababa, pp 37–48Google Scholar
  63. Yeshanew A (2007) Impacts of climate change on Ethiopia: with special emphasis on water Resource. In: Mengistu AA (ed) Harnessing the water resources of Ethiopia for sustainable development in the new Ethiopian Millennium. Forum for Environment, Addis Ababa, pp 63–66Google Scholar
  64. Yimer DH, Mengistou S (2009) Water quality parameters and macroinvertebrates index of biotic integrity of the Jimma wetlands, Southwestern Ethiopia. Journal of Wetlands Ecology 3:77–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Moges
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Beyene
    • 1
  • L. Triest
    • 3
  • A. Ambelu
    • 1
  • E. Kelbessa
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health Science and TechnologyJimma UniversityJimmaEthiopia
  2. 2.Department of Plant Biology and Biodiversity ManagementAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.Plant Science and Nature Management (APNA)Vrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations