Wetlands are not wastelands but wealth lands, which are widely distributed throughout Uganda currently covering 11% of the total land area. They are accessible to a large proportion of the population. As the country's population grows, people increasingly convert wetlands for other land uses such as farming, settlement among others thus making it difficult to enforce legislation for their protection, sustainable management and utilization. Their profound importance to both humans and wildlife calls for a concerted effort to ensure their sustainable utilization and attempts should be made to promote sustainable development of such wetlands with adequate considerations being given to human and environmental requirements. This study was therefore carried out to determine the effect of drainage on organic matter levels and on soil chemical changes in wetland soils in eastern Uganda around the Lake Victoria basin. Secondly, to assess potential lime requirements for drained wetland soils in eastern Uganda around the Lake Victoria basin, this would reflect on wetland soil buffering capacity. In green house studies it was found that drainage of wetland soils led to a reduction of organic matter relative to soil structure and where sulfur and iron were present in large amounts, drainage caused decrease in soil pH to moderately acidic levels; but in cases where exchangeable bases were present in large amounts there was an increase in soil pH. Lime requirements were greater where the amount of clay, organic matter and cation exchange capacity were high. Consequently, such wetland soils had a high buffering capacity. It was concluded that wetland soils should be characterized in terms of potential of acidification, level of organic matter, nutrient content, cation exchange capacity, soil texture and levels of trace elements. Decisions to drain or not to drain should depend on these parameters and other socio-economic considerations for the area.

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