Implementation effects of incentive policies on Tanzanian wetland ecosystems
Incentive conservation policies are acknowledged to reduce the degradation of natural resources for improved ecosystem services worldwide. However, there have been few studies conducted on the contribution of development programs using such policies in wetlands of local importance. This paper examined the implementation effects of an incentive-based Wetlands Friendly Investments (WFI) strategy in the Ndembera Valley, Tanzania. Data were collected using a survey of 208 households and in-depth interviews, supplemented by Landsat 8 imagery and topographical maps.ERDAS Imagine 15 was used to process land cover changes and water ﬂow using the TREND software. The results indicated: (i) all major wetlandsareas had declined; (ii) the differences in land cover (t = -418, df = 8, p = .687) and water ﬂow (t = .418, df = 8,p = .9) before and after introduction of the strategy were not signiﬁcant; (iii) weak correlationwas observed between rainfall and water ﬂow (r = .37); and (iv) land conversionwas the main driver for the decline in cover. These ﬁndings represent a failure of the WFI incentives to improve the ecological effects of wetland cover and water ﬂow.This suggests that application of the strategy alone was not sufﬁcient for substantial improvement of the desired short-term cover and ﬂow effect. Integrating land use and livelihood into incentive policies can improve WFI incentive implementation practices for sustainable land conservationinthestudyarea.The multi-method approach used minimized human behavior-response limitations, therefore itcanbe replicated elsewhere.