Socio-economic determinants of land degradation: A case study of Busongora County North, Kasese District
Kule, Asa Musinguzi
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This study was undertaken to find out the main causes of land degradation especially soil erosion in Busongora County north Kasese District. The main focus was the socio economic factors which lead to biophysical causes of land and soil degradation. The research is based on the premise that in most cases land degradation has continued to occur regardless of the fact that people have known the effects of it. Therefore there is need to find out why this has continued to occur, where socio economic factors are considered to be the main cause. The study addressed the physical causes of land and soil degradation mainly soil erosion and vegetation destruction, and at the same time looking at the way the communities in the affected areas are responding to land and soil degradation. The study mainly used household questionnaires to find out peoples perceptions about degradation, direct observation and measurements, landuse characterization were used to capture the severity of erosion, its effects on the crops and its distribution along the slope gradients. IKONOS high resolution Images were used in the classification of the land use types in the study area. The research covered the subcounties of Rukoki, Maliba and Bugoye focusing on one parish from each subcounty for the research work. The findings of the study indicate that the most serious causes of land degradation and soil erosion in the study area are poor farming/landuse methods, lack of awareness, and removal of vegetation, poor law enforcement, limited extension contact time and the terrain of the place. It farther reveals that people do know what land degradation means and what may be the causes of the same in their area. The failure of the policy makers and legislators to pass information to the targeted population is another cause of degradation regardless of the good polices and legislation against land and soil degradation. It has been found out that land and soil degradation has affected the crop productivity based on the crop health status. Almost all farm plots in the area are affected by soil erosion as they have erosion features standing out predominantly. Most of the people in the area are responding to land and soil degradation through various methods of water and soil conservation methods. The main response to soil erosion is construction of terraces which are mainly of poor quality which may be due to lack of adequate guidance from extension workers and are therefore not having the desired impact on the loss of soil due to erosion. It could be concluded that erosion is the main degradation type which occurs in the study area, there is limited awareness about the existing regulations and legislation on conservation of land and soil in the area. It is therefore recommended that appropriate measures be put in place to cut down the land degradation which is lowering crop productivity of the area and thus affecting the livelihoods of the people in the study area.