PPN Exchange visit

Collaborative Forest Management; NU supports exchange visit

NatureUganda, through its PPN project, supported an exchange visit for representatives from the Kasyoha-Kitomi (KK) Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) group in Bushenyi district to Echuya Central Forest Reserve (CFR). The visit which took place on on the 17th of November, primarily composed of members from the Locally Based Monitoring and Joint Patrol Teams, the KK team sought insights into successful forest conservation practices.

Echuya CFR, recognized for its high conservation value as the habitat of the endemic Grauer’s swamp warbler, hosted the KK team. The exchange aimed to showcase the achievements of Echuya CFR’s conservation efforts, leading local authorities to advocate for an elevated protection status, even proposing the reserve be designated as a National Park.

The visiting members also took a forest walk along the Muchuya swamp, the habitat of the Grauer’s Swamp Warbler. Subsequently, the team reconvened at the National Forestry Authority (NFA) camp, where they engaged in discussions with their Echuya counterparts. The discourse revolved around strategies to enhance forest conservation while concurrently promoting sustainable livelihoods.

Key takeaways from the exchange emphasized the imperative of supporting communities in planting fast-growing trees on their lands to alleviate the pressure caused by unsustainable harvesting of forest resources. Additionally, the implementation of energy-saving stoves, adoption of sustainable land management practices, and involvement in income-generating activities were identified as crucial steps to reduce dependency on forests.

A unanimous agreement emerged that Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) members must intensify their advocacy for conservation. This involves continuous awareness creation at every available opportunity and ongoing efforts to recruit new members into CFM groups. By doing so, forest adjacent communities can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the importance of forest conservation, fostering a collective commitment to environmental preservation.