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Unravelling resilience contestations and sustainability on the coupled Mt. Elgon in Eastern

Authors: Yazidhi Bamutaze*, Makerere University
Topics: Mountain Environments, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Africa
Keywords: Resilience, Sustainability, Mountains, Contestations
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The resilience of livelihoods and sustainability of ecosystems in mountain regions in Uganda occupies a significant space in the science and policy discourse. A predominant narrative avers that the strongly coupled Mt. Elgon in Eastern Uganda is highly degraded and prevalent with natural hazards, signifying poor environmental stewardship by the inhabitants. In this study, we interrogate the dimensions and context of resilience drawing from a series of process measurements and social studies in selected entities on Mt. Elgon; (1) Experimental plots coupled with GIS based modelling were severally undertaken to the derive the magnitude of soil erosion (2) mapping of hyper erosion manifesting as landslides was undertaken using GPS receivers (3) soil sampling followed by lab analysis was implemented to yield proxies on the soil quality (4) social survey were conducted to test perceptions of the farmers on their context of environmental sustainability vis-à-vis empirically derived information. Our empirical results on erosion reveals two extreme contrasts on tenets of (un)sustainability with rates varying from 1.2 t/ha/yr to >100 t/ha/yr in varied localities on Elgon. Spatial modelling premised on 280 landslide scars reveals hotspot underlain to biotite granite and Lixic ferralsol soils. The level of soil organic matter from most locations was above the critical threshold crop growing. Social survey reveal that farmers are aware of environmental challenges in their localities, but rate degradation from low to moderate contrasting some empirical data. More importantly, they still consider their farmlands as productive contesting the predominant narrative of a degraded montane ecosystem.

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