WETLAND RESOURCE EXPLOITATION AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS: CASE STUDY OF BAMENDA III SUB-DIVISION, NORTH WEST REGION OF CAMEROON
TANTOH REMI NGENWIE
Department of Development Studies
Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Development with Specialisation in Environment and Natural Resource Management
Globally, wetlands are amongst the most important ecosystems, harbouring diverse and abundant resources. Unfortunately, they are among the least understood and the most abused assets. The Bamenda III sub-division is endowed with enormous wetlands resources ranging from lake systems, river and floodplains formations that cover about a quarter of the land surface. Most inhabitants rely entirely or partially on the wetlands for survival. However, comprehensive information on the resources, contributions to livelihoods and threats towards sustainability is non-existent. This study assesses wetland resource exploitation and the contribution to livelihood to Bamenda municipality. Specifically, a) it identifies the various wetland resources in the Bamenda III sub-divisions, b) examines the contribution of wetlands to livelihoods and, c) investigates the threats to the wetlands of the Bamenda III area. Data was collected through the use of 116 administered mixed questionnaires, field observation and interview guide. The collected data were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics with the help of the SPSS version 20 package. The results indicated that that the wetlands of the Bamenda III municipality are well endowed with resources ranging from fertile soils used for agriculture, a variety of water bodies rich in aquatic lives, raffia of vital economic importance, and also harbours important medicinal plants. Across the different wetlands in the municipality, no significant difference (P>0.05) in resource awareness exists. Averagely farmers harvest five bags of vegetables from the area per week, earning the sum of 25000FCFA.This income is therefore used by the people for their day to day hence sustainability. Illegal land reclamation, weak law enforcement, lack of capital and inadequate sensitization are some of the challenges confronting the stakeholders for appropriate wetland management. The study recommends an aggressive capacity building for the proper management of the wetlands in the area.
Key words. Wetlands, resources, livelihood, threats, Bamenda III municipality