Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 717–730 | Cite as

Community-based natural resource use and management of Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, Uganda, for livelihood benefits

  • A. Gosling
  • Charlie M. ShackletonEmail author
  • J. Gambiza
Original Paper


Conservation and sustainable management of wetlands requires participation of local stakeholders, including communities. The Bigodi Wetland is unusual because it is situated in a common property landscape but the local community has been running a successful community-based natural resource management programme (CBNRM) for the wetland for over a decade. Whilst external visitors to the wetland provide ecotourism revenues we sought to quantify community benefits through the use of wetland goods such as firewood, plant fibres, and the like, and costs associated with wild animals damaging farming activities. We interviewed 68 households living close to the wetland and valued their cash and non-cash incomes from farming and collection of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and water. The majority of households collected a wide variety of plant and fish resources and water from the wetland for household use and livestock. Overall, 53% of total household cash and non-cash income was from collected products, mostly the wetland, 28% from arable agriculture, 12% from livestock and 7% from employment and cash transfers. Female-headed households had lower incomes than male-headed ones, and with a greater reliance on NTFPs. Annual losses due to wildlife damage were estimated at 4.2% of total gross income. Most respondents felt that the wetland was important for their livelihoods, with more than 80% identifying health, education, craft materials and firewood as key benefits. Ninety-five percent felt that the wetland was in a good condition and that most residents observed the agreed CBNRM rules regarding use of the wetland. This study confirms the success of the locally run CBNRM processes underlying the significant role that the wetland plays in local livelihoods.


Benefits Costs Gender Income Land-based Local management Non-timber forest products 



The authors would like to thank John Tinka of KAFRED and the Community Committee for their support of and contributions to this research, as well as the villagers of Bigodi who made this work possible.


This work was supported by a Rated Researchers Grant to CS from the South African National Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental ScienceRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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