The contributions of plantation forests to the livelihoods of communities adjacent to plantations
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ABSTRACT Forests make an important contribution across nearly every aspect of sustainable development. A research on the contributions of plantations to the livelihoods of communities adjacent to Mafuga plantation Kabale district in three villages of Muzirante, Kaburara and Ahakitoma was conducted in January 2017. The study was to assess the contributions of forest plantations to the livelihoods of communities adjacent to Mafuga plantation. The specific objectives were to, determine benefits local people drive from plantation, the attitudes of local people to wards plantations and asses the challenges faced by local people in obtaining forest products. Data was collected using structured questionnaires and key informant interviews. A total of 60 respondents were sampled from the communities adjacent to Mafuga plantation. Communities adjacent plantation depend on it for their livelihoods through deriving products like firewood, timbers/poles, medicinal herbs, handcraft materials, honey, mushrooms, gum and handle sticks. The attitude of communities towards plantation was good in that all respondents reported that plantation is important to them and the challenges people face in obtaining these forest products include crop raiding, fires, pests and diseases, restrictions, soil erosion and poor transport means. It was concluded that Mafuga forest plantation significantly contribute to livelihoods of the adjacent communities as they benefit directly and indirectly. However there is a need for effective plantation forest management to control the extraction of resources such as timber, firewood from the plantation. This will avoid over exploitation of resources so that they can be used sustainably for present and future generations in order to ensure sustainable forest management.