Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bugoma Forest Conservation Campaign Appeal

Background: the importance of Bugoma Forest
Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, with about 410 sq km of protected area, a long forested stretch of about 40 km, was rated 12 out of 65 forests surveyed in Uganda for biodiversity importance. Bugoma is the largest remaining block of forest along the Albertine Rift Valley between Budongo and Semliki and it is a chimpanzee sanctuary. 

Mission of the campaign
To work for the conservation of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve and neighboring buffer zones areas, working with stakeholders and changing the current trend of deforestation in both protected forest and the private lands.

Deforestation along the boundaries of the Forest, March 2014
Problematic issues observed in Bugoma Forest and surroundings:
-Rampant deforestation in and around Bugoma, Hoima District, affecting protected areas but also the private lands.
-The forest boundaries are not clear and much area is degraded.
-Timber “mafia” type of society is affecting the lives of people living around Bugoma.
-The chimpanzee of Bugoma forest are “beleaguered” and endangered as the wildlife migratory corridors between Bugoma and Budongo are disappearing with the loss of habitats.
-The control of the forest by the police and forestry authorities is not sufficient and more concerted efforts should be put in place and more partnership.
-NGOs are not present in Bugoma forest
-The private sector is not present in Bugoma
-Ugandan Universities are not carrying out research in Bugoma
-The future construction of an oil refinery near the forest is a serious threat.
-Bugoma forest does not host any eco-tourist site.

Objectives, ideas and actions of the campaign:
-A partnership approach should be encouraged for the conservation of the forest, involving the local communities and their leaders, as it is foreseen by the National Forestry Act about the creation of Forest Committees to support the management of the protected areas.
-A request for expansion of the current protected area should be made and a clear demarcation exercise of the boundaries, considering important sites and wildlife corridors.
- A joint effort public / private would help and bring more resources for the protection of the forest
-In the private areas and buffer zones, the District Forest Department should be encouraged to enforce and enact more regulations for the conservation of forests.
-Owners of private forests should be encouraged to register their forests with the District Land Board and preserve them, according to the Law cap 21.
-Incentives for private forest owners are important and urgent for a better forest management and to encourage reforestation.
-People should be encouraged to purchase land with the purpose of protecting the forest, in buffer zones areas.
-Carbon incentives would also help to reduce the rate of deforestation and encouraging active reforestation.
-The degraded areas of the protected forest must be restocked.
-Universities should start pilot projects of scientific research in and around Bugoma Central Forest Reserve. This could also help policy makers and drive the efforts of NGOs.
-An urgent project is the restoration of the wildlife migratory corridor between Bugoma and Budongo.
-NGOs should come and invest in restoration of the forest, both in protected areas and in private areas. NGOs should work with local communities creating income generating activities (like crops incentives) and at the same time promoting tree-planting and forest regeneration.
-Projects can generate more jobs in the area and may help changing faster the current trend of deforestation.
-Creating eco-tourism activities in Bugoma is crucial to the future of the forest and should be encouraged. Licenses from National Forestry Authority should not only be given for timber cutting, but also for eco-tourism.

Targeted groups:
-NFA and District Forest Services
-Students and Universities
-Civil society organizations
-NGOs for the environment
-Private sector enterprises (especially sugar cane and tea plantations)
-Private forest owners
-Political leaders
-Bunyoro kingdom

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