Has the evolution process of forestry policies in Uganda promoted deforestation?
International Forestry Review
The dynamics in livelihood needs of people at the fringes of tropical forests have increased the stakes and management challenges of biodiversity worldwide. Since the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the importance of biodiversity has been emphasized in several international agreements. However, the incentives to implement such agreements in poor countries are lacking. The present study characterised the determinants of deforestation, and forest management practices within Mabira Forest Reserve (MFR) in central Uganda. This was done within the context of the evolution of the policy and legal frameworks of Uganda. Literature on MFR as well as the policy and legal framework on forests and related resources was reviewed. The results show that evolution of the forest policy was characterised by limited input from key stakeholders. Moreover, there has been political interference and limited sharing of benefits amid failure to harmonize the forestry policy with relevant policies of related sectors. Consequently, deforestation has continued. To address this anomaly, we encourage the involvement of all key stakeholders including local people in designing management guidelines and sharing benefits from forests as an incentive for participation to promote sustainable forest growth. This is crucial for the success of forest restoration programmes in the tropics.