Land use practices in Karamoja and their effects on the abundance and distribution of Wildlife (trees and mammals). A case study of Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve.
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The management of PUWR has been faced with a number of challenges that have directly or indirectly impacted on the abundance and distribution of wildlife. The research was carried out with the main objective of identifying the major land use conflicts in Pian-Upe wildlife reserve, causes and effects of these conflicts on the abundance and distribution of wildlife in Pian-Upe wildlife reserve. The researcher applied both qualitative and quantitative methods of collecting data thereby using descriptive cross-sectional methods. Data were collected using Questionnaires, one-to-one interviews, direct observations and assessments and reviewing of different relevant literature. Later, data were analyzed using Excel computer program. The study revealed that the main land use conflicts in Pian-Upe wildlife reserve were grazing of livestock in the reserve, settlement and cultivation in the reserve, poaching of wild animals in the reserve, cutting of trees in the reserve for fuel wood, construction materials, charcoal burning and mining of minerals in the reserve. The causes of these conflicts were population increase in the region, shift in cultural set up of the area, increasing demand for charcoal from the neighboring districts, urbanization, improved livestock practices that have led to multiplication of livestock herds, disarmament of the warriors in the region which has made pastoralists herds to increase rapidly, repetitive famine and general belief that all land belongs to the local community. Most of these conflicts were season-based. The results indicated that in places that are settled and cultivated, more trees are cut than in unsettled and uncultivated areas. It was also observed that there were more livestock in the reserve during the dry season than during the rainy season. More animals were encountered in grazed areas than in cultivated areas meaning that animals had either been over poached or scared away in settled and cultivated areas compared to grazed areas. The social-cultural dynamics of the people were found also to make serious contribution towards communities’ “invasion” of the reserve. Culturally, Karamojong are cattle keepers who are used to keeping large herds and practicing some form of nomadic herding. The study therefore recommends that the Uganda Wildlife Authority considers conservation education as a paramount approach to indulge communities in conservation and as well should devise best ways through which communities can live side-by-side with wildlife without conflicts.