Disappearing Forests Of Uganda: The Way Forward
Kayanja, F. I. B.
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Encroachment on state lands is a common practice in Uganda. Forest reserves are a form of state land under forest cover of either high land tropical forest (HLTF) or low land moist forest (LMF), and woodlands. Deforestation is eminent in Uganda considering the reduction of forest cover from the precolonial days to present. Forest clearance for agriculture in southwestern Uganda montane forests is thought to have begun some 2200 years ago with arrival of Bantu-speaking peoples who had iron smelting technology. These ethnic groups encountered the Batwa (pygmies) people, who traded forest products for food, a scenario that initiated accelerated deforestation. Deforestation in Uganda has reduced the ecological interactions that support sharing of resources. These include light, temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity, pests, diseases, symbiots, soil nutrients, organic matter, moisture and space. As a result areas which were formally under forest cover now hardly support any plant life. Efforts are being made to contain the situation by adopting collaborative forest management, enacting laws and regulations that can help guide forest conservation.