Community attitudes towards conservation in a wooded savannah of Uganda: the case of Acwali forest reserve in Kaberamaido district
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In Uganda, the rate of forest degradation and loss is alarming yet forests are known to play important roles for the environment and in the livelihoods of many people who surround them. This survey conducted from Kaberamaido district in eastern Uganda in Ochero Sub-county, assessed community’s attitudes towards forest conservation in a wooded savanna of Acwali (CFR). A sample of 60 participants was randomly selected from four villages (Acwali, Oleko, Acamidako, and Awiimon) to participate in the study. They were interviewed on their views towards forest, perceived benefits from the forest and preferred method of conservation. Results showed that 79% respondents preferred in situ conservation, and 21% preferred plantation. On the drivers to forest degradation, two categories were established namely; indirect and direct drivers. For indirect drivers’ respondents noted high population growth (28%), commercial demand (22%), weak governance/policies (20%), poverty (13%), limited livelihood options (12%) and scarcity of grazing land (5%) as key drivers. The direct drivers identified by respondents were charcoal burning (36%), over harvesting of wood fuel (28%), illegal logging (21%), forest clearing for grazing (8%) and fires (7%). This study further found out that poor forest governance (35%), shortage of personnel (25%), free access / miss perception by the community that they entirely own the forest reserve (18%) little / lack of compliance (15%) and poor facilitation of the district forest department (7%) as the management challenges. The survey also unraveled respondents’ views on consequences of forest degradation and identified the major negative results of forest degradation as; shortage of wood fuel (35%), shortage of building material (22%), loss of forest food (17%), reduced rainfall amounts (13%), reduced incomes (8%) and increased temperatures (5%).