Forests are a supporting sector economically, environmentally, socially and culturally. However, there has been illegal use of forests and their resources that has eventuated into forest degradation and deforestation hence affecting the forest management. In past decade, through an initiative “Conserving biodiversity in the modernising farmed landscapes of Uganda” it was identified that forest biodiversity was increasingly threatened by anthropogenic activities in central Uganda. This prompts worries among the local communities on the importance of biodiversity to a sustainable agricultural production and the future of practice. Subsequently through support from Rufford Small Grant Foundation (RSGF) programs that first aimed at “Understanding the impact of forest fragmentation on forest biodiversity”. This work designed forest loss biodiversity indicators as forest hornbills. However the forest challenges had inadequate consideration of communities in conservation and management. Since then, the following interventions from 2009 - to current have been implemented at smaller spatial scale:
• Strengthening Collaborative Forest Management (CFM)
• Promoting CFM in Degraded Forests
• Enhancing community participation to conserve fragmented forests.
These initiatives aim at conservation of the forests in central Uganda. They include an ambitious plan to nurse the tropical rain forests which were reserved as Lake Victoria catchments back to health and reverse the alarming degradation and deforestation from further harm in central Uganda. This is because deforestation and degradation pose multiple threats to the forests. African Union of Conservationists (AUC) goal is to bring new damaging threats to a natural environment already under-pressure.
The forests that have been damaged by decades of unsustainable land management, which has seen intensive farming and now to climate change undermine the long-term health of the land. This has led to biodiversity species decline in over the last three decades. This also includes years of habitat destruction and exhausted soils that hardly produce enough for local communities.
• Our plans are geared to develop novel innovative ways of managing important forests beginning on small scale by strengthening CFM with adjacent communities, which are good for poor people, economic development and general environment welfare. We work with NFA that together improve on governance, and help look after important landscapes in Lake Victoria catchments to reconnect habitats and bringing back their natural role.
• Support at least 300 households in forest adjacent communities’ to transform to sustainable management, which can provide dependable incomes from agroforestry and forestry products of at least $1-$4 per household/day.
• Strengthen existing CFM groups to continue to gain full access rights and become responsible for SFM.
• We are targeting that at least 120ha of degraded forest areas be restored, contribute to a 0.73% reduction from the current 5% national annual degradation rate. Communities are empowered through awareness and mentorship of local leaders. The following descirbes the genesis of the Forest Conservation in central Uganda.