Understanding future ecosystem changes in Lake Victoria basin using participatory local scenarios


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Understanding future ecosystem changes is central to sustainable natural resource management especially when coupled with in-depth understanding of impacts of drivers, such as governance, demographic, economic and climate variations and land use policy. This offers comprehensive information for sustainable ecosystem services provision. A foresight process of systematic and presumptive assessment of future state and ecosystem integrity of Lake Victoria basin, as participatory scenario building technique, is presented. Four scenarios have been illustrated as possible future states of the basin over the next twenty years. Using a scenario building model developed in Ventana Simulation (VENSIM®) platform, the paper presents a scenario methodology for tracking changes in lake basin ecosystem status. Plausible trends in land use change, changes in lake levels and contribution of fisheries are presented. This is part of an initial attempt to setup long-term environmental policy planning strategies for Lake Victoria basin. The assumptions, driving forces, impacts and opportunities under each scenario depict major departure and convergence points for an integrated transboundary diagnosis and analysis of regional issues in the basin as well as strategic action planning for long-term interventions. The findings have been presented in terms of temporal, spatial, biophysical and human well-being dimensions. The attempts in this study can be embedded in a policy framework for basin management priority setting and may guide partnerships for environmental management.