Wild Edible Plants utilised by the communities adjacent to Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve: A case of Kyamuhunga Subcounty, Bushenyi District, South-Western Uganda.
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Wild Edible Plants are plants that are collected from the non-forested and forested areas for the use as human food. WEPs play a significant role in Uganda’s rural and ethnic cultures. The current study aims at assessing and documenting wild edible plants utilized by communities living around Kalinzu forest reserve in Kyamuhunga Sub-county, Bushenyi District, with the attempt to determine the species richness and diversity of edible plants, assess the seasonal variation in the abundance of edible plants and investigate the mode of consumption of wild edible plants by communities neighboring Kalinzu CFR. Several methods will be used to generate Data: Self-administered semi-structured questions were used to obtain responses from respondents in the sampled households, who were randomly selected from the adjacent ten villages that are close to the forest boundaries to represent the entire population. To validate this,one focus group discussions comprising of eleven people was conducted in Kayanga Village where free discussion was facilitated until a consensus was reached. Forest surveys were also carried out to determine the abundance of WEPs in the forest. Sixteen (16) plant species belonging to 14 families were documented, families Solanacea and Amaranthaceae had the most species. The species diversity was moderate at H’= 2.315, Afromomum angustifolium K. Schum which has a high relative frequency of citation of 16.67 is the most utilized species Kyamuhunga Subcounty. Most of the edible plants; 71% were reported were reported to be abundant during rainy season, 17% were found to be available during dry season and only 12% were found to be available throughout the year. The edible plant species dominating in the forest were Physalis peruviana, Carissa edulis Vahl. and Afromomum angustifolium K. Schum. Most of the wild edible plants (61%) are consumed raw whereas only 39% are cooked to prepare them for consumption. Overall, WEPs were reported to be important to not only during periods of food shortage but also to supplement on people’s diet by providing the essential nutrients. Therefore, there is need for further studies on possibility of domestication of the most utilized edible plant species.