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Uganda wetland maps will help boost economy

Uganda’s leaders now have access to maps that will allow them – to reduce poverty through better management of the country’s wetlands.

This map from Mapping a Better Future shows that highly impacted wetlands are spread widely across Uganda and are located in areas with both low and high poverty levels. Such data confirms that there is no straightforward relationship between poverty levels and potential wetland degradation.

Policymakers can use this information to flag certain sub-counties where close coordination between wetlands management and poverty-reduction efforts could be beneficial for both wetlands and local populations.

The maps appear as part of a new report, Mapping a Better Future: How Spatial Analysis Can Benefit Wetlands and Reduce Poverty in Uganda, produced by the World Resources Institute (WRI) in collaboration with Uganda’s Wetlands Management Department, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, and the International Livestock Research Institute.

Maps included within the report demonstrate that both poor and developed areas in Uganda have experienced wetlands degradation, dispelling the myth that wetlands loss only occurs in poorer areas.

Mafabi, a co-author of the report, added, “These maps and analysis enable us to identify and place an economic value on the nation’s wetlands. They show where wetland management can have the greatest impacts on reducing poverty.”

Defined as areas where plants and animals have adapted to temporary or permanent flooding, wetlands are found in every county in Uganda.