Assessing the socio-economic contribution of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve to the livelihoods of the forest surrounding residents in Kabwoya sub-county, Hoima district
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The study on contribution of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve to peoples’ livelihoods was conducted in Kabwoya Sub-county, Hoima District. The general objective of the study was to assess the contribution of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve to the livelihoods of the forest surrounding residents in Kabwoya sub-county. The specific objectives of the study were; to find out the products and services people obtain from the forest, to find out the socio-economic contribution of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve to the surrounding communities, to find out the challenges faced by people in obtaining the products and services from the forest. A sample of eighty-five respondents was taken from the villages in Kabwoya Sub-county and the methods which were used in data collection were; interviews through use of questionnaires and observation and the data concerning financial benefits of forests to households as other sources were analyzed. Secondary data was used as well to estimate the economic and social values of forest ecosystem services and how they affect people’s livelihoods in Kabwoya Sub-County Hoima district. This study concludes that there is a decline in the quantities of forest provisioning ecosystem services particularly forest foods, fuel wood and medicinal plants harvested from Bugoma CFR. Picking, uprooting, tree climbing, debarking and use of fallen trees are the methods used for harvesting the different livelihood requirements with the fact that overharvesting is leading to acquisition shortages in addition to the NFA official restrictions which resorted to a reduction in income generation from the forest products. The respondents reported an engagement in the different coping strategies like buying or purchasing, growing, use of medical centers, plantations as a way of adapting to the challenges like reduction in availability of forest foods, medicinal plants and fuel wood. However, some respondents reported having no alternative sources of forest products other than the forest reserve by pointing out some of their illnesses which could not be cured by the conventional medicines obtained from the health centers. The study recommends the need to communicate to the communities around the forest about the relevancy of sustainable use of the forest resources to prevent reduced forest resources availability. Addressing the perceived changes in the income requires the intervention by both the local communities and the management authorities to reduce resource degradation that is mainly as a result of unsustainable harvesting of the forest products to attain livelihood requirements. This study proposes that other studies have to be conducted on the problems that arise from the Central Forest Reserve existence to the livelihoods the surrounding communities.