Collaborative Forest Management Fails To Address Degradation of Forest Reserve

Comments 899 Views Kabarole, Uganda

In short
George Byamukama, the chairperson Hakibale conservation group, blames NFA for not sensitizing the communties about collaborative forestry management. According to Byamukama, some communties know that after signing the agreement with NFA, then the forest reserve belongs to the community and are free to cut down trees.

The collaborative Forest Management has failed to address the depletion of natural resources in the central forest reserves.
 
In 2001, government put in a place a forest policy aimed at effective management of forest resources, after some state institutions failed to register significant positive results due to lack of adequate financial and human resources to monitor the use of these forests. The Community Forestry Management was set up as another viable option to manage forestry resources.
 
In section 15 of the National Forest and Tree Planting Act, communities enter into an agreement with the National Forest Authority (NFA) for the management of forest resources through a negotiated process. Under the agreement, the community manages a central or local forest reserve in accordance with regulations that have been issued by the Minister.
 
In Kabarole district, the CFM was implemented a year ago in communities in Hakibale Sub County, living near Itwara Central forest reserve. It was implemented following an increase in cases of tree cutting for timber and cases of forest fires, which had become a daily occurrence.   
 
Last year, NFA signed a memorandum of understanding with Hakibale conservation community group to manage Itwara central forest reserve.
 
However CFM hasn’t registered any positive impact, as trees continue to be cut and there is encroachment on the forest reserve.
 
Benjamin Kamukama, sector manager Itwara says that 1/3 of Itwara forest reserve has been cut down, despite signing an agreement with the communities.
 
Kamukama also says that during the dry weather, 1/3 of the reserve was also gutted by fire and the communities did nothing to prevent spread of the fire.  
 
According to Kamukama, since both parties are supposed to benefit from the forest reserve, currently it’s only the community benefitting by collecting food, medicine and fuel.
 
He states that communties will be sensitized about the benefits of CFM.

George Byamukama, the chairperson Hakibale conservation group, blames NFA for not sensitizing the communties about collaborative forestry management. According to Byamukama, some communties know that after signing the agreement with NFA, then the forest reserve belongs to the community and are free to cut down trees.
 
He also says that members of the community have never been trained on how to prevent and fight  forest fires. Byamukama states that another challenge facing implementation of CFM is some indvidulas who connive with NFA and cut down tress for timber.  He says that when they are arrested, officials from NFA order for their release.
 
David Mugenyi,  the secretary of  the conservation group, says that some of the members are relunctant to stop people from encroaching on the forest reserve, because some are relatives.
 
Mugenyi says that the increasing population in the area forces people to cut down trees and settle on the land.    
 
//Cue in: “degradation of the reserve…
 
Cue out: “…settlement on the land.”//

 

Comments