Kikonda Forest Managers Move To Prevent Destruction Of Reserve

3281 Views Kyankwanzi, Uganda

In short
The management of Kikonda Central forestry reserve in Kyankwazi district has moved to prevent destruction of the reserve by the neighboring pastoral communities. In 2002, Global Woods, a German based company was contracted by National Forestry Authority to manage the forest reserve for 50 years.

The management of Kikonda Central forestry reserve in Kyankwazi district has moved to prevent destruction of the reserve by the neighboring pastoral communities.

In 2002, Global Woods, a German based company was contracted by National Forestry Authority to manage the forest reserve for 50 years.

But the forest managers say the high level of encroachment especially from the neighboring pastoral communities has since been a major challenge.

Mathius Baldas, the Global Woods Chief Executive Officer, says the cattle keepers have always let their animals into the forest reserve which in turn trample on the young trees and destroy them.

Baldas explains that often the cattle keepers have been responsible for the burning of the forest as they seek to provide pasture for their animals almost every year plunging the company into huge losses.

In January this year, 400 hectares of the forest reserve were burnt, the worst loss Baldas says the company has registered ever.

The company has meanwhile moved to check the problem.

Baldas says according to research findings by the company in December last year, most of the pastoralists enter the forest in search of water for their animals as the reserve houses most of the water points.

He says now the company has started construction of valley dams in the neighboring areas to help the cattle keepers water their animals without going to the forest.

On Friday the company handed over two valley dams worth 20 million shillings, one in Kigando village Nsambya Sub County and another one in Kyambogo village Butemba town council.

Baldas says this is part of the company’s struggle to ensure there are fewer disturbances to the forest.

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The bigger portion of the population in Kyankwanzi district are pastoralists who normally roam the area with their animals in search of pasture and water.

Lawrence Kamunyi, a pastoralist from Kiteredde village in Butemba town council says water for his animals has been a problem especially during dry seasons.

Kamunyi explains that he was always forced to sneak into the forest to look for water for his animals as water points there do not easily get dry.

Kamunyi says now that the forest management has constructed valley dams he will not sneak his animals into the forest again. He has now only twenty animals after losing 16 of them to the January dry spell.

Kyankwanzi RDC Caleb Tukaikiriza says there have been strained relations between the forest management and the neighboring community members who wish to graze their animals into the reserve.

Tukaikiriza welcomes the initiative by the company adding that his office is working hard to ensure that the forest and the communities co-exist.

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Kikonda forest reserve measures 12,186 hectares and is known for commercial tree species like pine and acacias among others.