Application of indigenous knowledge in forest conservation by local communities living around Budongo central forest reserve.
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A study to examine the application of indigenous knowledge in forest conservation by local communities living around Budongo central forest reserve, a case study of Nyabyeya-2,Nyakafunjo and Panyana villages, Masindi district was carried out. The specific objectives were to (i) profile indigenous knowledge and practices used in forest conservation (ii) examine the effectiveness and outcomes of applying indigenous knowledge in forest conservation (iii) assess the challenges faced in applying IK in forest conservation. A survey of local people living around Budongo forest was carried out, the target population was the local people who had lived in the area for at least 10 years. The three villages were purposively selected due to their greater prevalence of indigenous knowledge and practices, and proximity to Budongo forest, and the respondents from these villages were randomly chosen. Data were collected using close and open ended questionnaire, where 93 copies were administered. Interviews and focus group discussions were also conducted with the aid of a question check list, and direct observations were also made. The data collected were cleaned, coded, analyzed and summarized using SPSS and Microsoft excel. Descriptive and logistic regression was also carried out to summarize the research data. It was found that local communities adjacent to Budongo forest apply their indigenous knowledge in the conservation of the forest, and it has been effective in the conservation of the forest’s unique plant species, various birds, chimpanzees and other biodiversity. However, the indigenous knowledge of these local communities is at the verge of being extinct due to the influence of modernity among other factors, and thus immediate efforts should be taken to reverse and revive the indigenous knowledge and practices of the local communities in order to achieve long term sustainability of the forest. The study recommended documentation and restoration of Budongo forest as a first measure to help preserve the indigenous knowledge of the local communities. It also recommended for the introduction of intellectual property rights to protect the traditional knowledge of the local communities from exploitation, integration of indigenous knowledge in forest conservation policies and management plans plus the policy implications for its integration.