Get access

Drivers of ecosystem change and their impacts on human well-being in Lake Victoria basin




To offer an increased understanding of the spatial patterns, temporal, social and physical predictors of the conversion and transformations of land use in Lake Victoria basin, an assessment of proximate and underlying forces is presented. This study discusses key theoretical underpinnings for the manifold linkages existing between selected drivers of land-use changes around the basin and their consequences on human well-being. Using a meta-analytical research design, the paper analyses ecosystems level cases of the causes of land use and cover changes in the basin, to determine any spatio-temporal or institutional patterns and dynamics. A suite of recurrent core variables has been identified to influence land use and cover changes in the basin. The most prominent of these at the underlying category are climatic factors, economic factors, institutions, national and regional policies, population growth and other remote influences. At the proximate level, these factors drive cropland expansion, overgrazing, infrastructure extension and rates of land degradation. These are supported by empirical evidence from the basin. This assessment is crucial for appropriate local and transboundary policy interventions, which have to be fine-tuned to the locale-specific dynamic patterns associated with the inherent ecosystems changes.