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The loss and degradation of wetlands in Zimbabwe’s communal lands is of great concern, which has been debated on various workshops, meetings and conferences. They provide life-sustaining resources to rural communities, such as potable water, material for crafting and thatching, grazing for cattle, medicinal plants and land for cultivation. Wetlands occupy approximately 240 000 hectares of Zimbabwe’s communal lands. However, negative human interference is threatening the sustainability of the wetlands. Therefore effective and sustainable utilization and management of these resources is an essential prerequisite for maintaining and improving livelihoods of people and fostering overall socio-economic development in rural communities and maintaining species diversity and ecosystem functioning. To that, end the Environmental Management Agency has supported 65 wetland restoration and utilisation projects, protecting approximately780 ha of wetland area with over 3 000 households/members directly benefitting from these projects, resulting in improved livelihoods.
Set on an 18.8 ha fenced plot Domborutinhira community project is a wetland restoration and utilisation project which was supported by the Agency through protection of a 3.8 ha wetland and rehabilitation of the borehole which was dysfunctional in the year 2012 for the benefit of 120 households of which 40 members are female. It consists of two components which are a protected wetland and a consolidated garden. Of the 18.8ha fenced plot, 15 ha is occupied by the garden while the remaining 3.8 ha is the protected wetland. The project is located in Chidazembe Resettlement in ward 19, Doweguru village of Mutasa district in Manicaland Province. The volume of water flowing from the wetland has drastically improved as well as biodiversity richness and abundance. The wetland is now providing more goods and services to local communities following its protection .Additionally the project is generating household income for the benefiting households supplementing income that they generate from other activities and initiatives. From their harvest of their horticultural produce in 2014, a number of households were able to earn amounts ranging from US$ 280 to US$ 850 per farmer. The enterprise has uplifted the household nutritional status of the benefiting members.
Madhumbe under cultivation and Thicket forest at Domborutinhira wetland
Muvhami community project
Muvhami is a 3.5 ha community driven initiative supported and implemented by the community in the year 2009 for the benefit of 93 families of which 58 of the members are female. The project is located in ward 7 of Makonde district in Mashonaland West Province. Of the 3.5 hectares, 1 ha is the protected wetland while 2.5 hectares constitute the consolidated garden. The most dominant crops grown in the garden include vegetables, tomatoes and sugar cane. The wetland is a typical W3 wetland. The upper (north) margin of the wetland is marked with a thicket of big Ficus trees and Syzidium species whilst immediately below them there are sedges and guinea grasses. The wetland is house to a number of bird species, rabbits, repetiles, other small mammals, numerous insects and micro-organism. The dominant tree species are Psidium guajava, Diospyros Abyssinia, and Acacia polyacantha while the dominant grass species grass species are Typha latifolia capensis, Sporobolus pyramidalis, Cyperus rotundus, Leersia lexandra, Cynodon plectastachyas and ReedsThe dominant bird species observed during an ecological assessment exercise included Uraeginthus angolensis, Ploceus Velatus and Streptopelia capicola.
Muvhami protected wetland