Participation of the Local Communities of Nyabyeya Village in the Utilization and Management of Budongo Forest Reserve, Western Uganda
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ABSTRACT The participation of local communities in the utilization and management of forest resources in relation to their livelihoods has not been fully documented around this Forest Reserve. This study was undertaken to assess the involvement of the local community in utilization and management of Budongo Forest Reserve. The objectives were; 1) to document community based forest management activities around Nyabyeya village, 2) to assess the socio-economic benefits of Budongo Forest Reserve to the local community and 3) to document the challenges faced by local people and opportunities in accessing and utilizing Forest resources. A sample of 120 household respondents were obtained by random sampling. Data were collected using questionnaires. The results show that there were different community based forestry management activities including the following small holder tree growing, conservation of indigenous tress species, monitoring the forest through guarding and participation in decision making concerning forest conservation procedures. As a result of living near the forest, the local community of Nyabyeya benefit from the forest source of firewood, building materials (e.g, poles, thatching grass), wind breaks, and handcraft materials, climate modification and food. Opportunities available included incentives from National Forestry Authority and employment opportunities. The challenges faced by local community in trying to access and utilize the forests include; wild animals, crop raiding, strict laws, harsh punishments and lack of participation in decision making. There is a need to get alternative sources of energy such as solar and biomass in order to reduce dependence on forest. Involving the local community in management activities of the forest would improve management and Forest management authorities should compensate local community for the accidents and damage caused by the animals from the forest.