Local Communities’ Awareness on Payments for Ecosystem Services for Improved Livelihood and Conservation of Nyando Wetland, Kenya
Maithya, Joseph K.
Ming’ate, Felix L.M.
Letema, Sammy C.
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Nyando wetland provides several ecosystem goods and services, i.e., provisioning, cultural, supporting and regulating which are essential for human well-being for making life possible and worth living. Payment for Ecosystem Services presents one key question in current literature on whether local communities are aware of ecosystem services provided by wetlands. This paper contributes to the understanding of the local community’s level of awareness of the ecosystem services provided by Nyando wetland in Kenya as a strategy to improve protection of wetlands. The study is significant as it proposes policy options that can assist conservation authorities and local communities in management of wetlands. A stratified random sampling based on two administrative sub-counties, namely Nyando and Nyakach was employed to collect quantitative data from 394 households using a structured questionnaire. The quantitative data was subjected to descriptive statistics and Chi-square test which were performed in SPSS version 20. The results confirmed that the local community is more conversant with the provisioning ecosystem services (37.7%) compared to the other classes of ecosystem services. Despite the locals being involved in community based natural resource conservation initiatives, majority of the respondents (69%) were not familiar with the concept of Payment for Ecosystem Services. Therefore, there is need to create awareness and capacity building to local communities on the importance of both the wetland ecosystem services and Payment for Ecosystem Services in conservation of wetlands for enhanced community livelihoods.