Community-based conservation practices carried out in and around Kalinzu Forest Reserve and their implications on conservation of local forest resources
Worldwide, forests have continued to experience rapid degradation due to various factors including unsustainable utilization and increasing human population. In Uganda, most forest reserves are currently experiencing increasing degradation due to illegal activities leading to loss of various forest resources. Community-based conservation is known to be among the most practical approaches to reduce biodiversity loss and conserve natural resources including forests. This research investigated community-based conservation practices in and around Kalinzu Forest Reserve (KFR) and their implications on conservation of the local forest resources. Specifically, it determined the different community-based conservation practices carried out in and around KFR, established the importance of particular conservation practices in conserving the local forest resources and assessed the factors which influence community members in carrying out particular conservation practices. It also documented the benefits which the local community members obtain from KFR and identified the tree species growing in local community members’ homestead gardens and their corresponding uses. Using semi-structured questionnaires on 80 randomly selected respondents, conducting in-depth interviews with 12 purposively selected key informants, conducting focus group discussions and carrying out direct observations, data were obtained from three purposively selected parishes adjacent to KFR. The findings indicated that diverse conservation practices including agroforestry, establishing tree nurseries and woodlots, use of energy saving cook stoves and soil conservation were ix practiced. Across the three parishes, agroforestry was the most commonly carried conservation practice while the establishment of tree nursery beds was the least carried out practice. It was also noted that the various conservation practices helped conserve the local forest resources by providing alternative sources of various products including firewood, food, construction poles, timber, income and water. Although several factors were reported to affect the respondents’ engagement in various conservation practices, limited land size was the most commonly mentioned factor. Most respondents reported that KFR provides them with firewood and employment and very few respondents were informed that KFR acts as a facility for education and research. Over 15 tree species were noted to be growing in homestead gardens and their varied uses included providing food, firewood, timber, animal fodder and being used ornamental and soil conservation purposes. It was concluded that although several conservation practices being carried out in and around KFR contribute to the conservation of forest resources both within and in the forest’s environs, several factors including low level of education and land size hinder community members from carrying out various necessary conservation practices.
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