Unchecked destruction of forest belts has claimed at least 10,252 hectares of a central forest reserve in Kibaale District in the last nine years, a situation that is likely to worsen due to an ongoing dispute over ownership of forest cover, according to a report.
The Kagadi Sector Reserve, which comprises of an area where court recently directed forest authorities to expeditiously open the boundaries, is used for cultivation, settlement and timber harvesting.
According to a report on the status of the forest reserves in Kagadi Sector, 16 central forest reserves (CFRs) in five management areas of Kakumiro, Kagombe, Nyakarongo, Kyebando and Kiryanga have been degraded by up to 40 per cent.
“Approximately, 10,252.233 hectares of forest reserve areas are heavily degraded due to massive agricultural encroachment, settlement and timber harvesting by immigrants and local communities,” reads the report.
Mr Uzziah Ndyanabo, the acting sector manager of Kagadi, confirmed the development, saying the situation has been worsened by proclamations that Ruzaire, Guramwa, Kagadi, Kasato and Kanaga CFRs were returned to Bunyoro Kingdom by the government.
“This issue has led to a lot of tension between the local stakeholders and NFA management on ground. Unless clarification is made, I strongly believe that the 16 CFRs are still under the management of Kagadi Sector,” Mr Ndyanabo said.
“Our hands are now tied until the boundaries are open. But it is unfortunate that the company contracted to open the boundaries delayed and yet the process is the only saviour to enable us take action against encroachers,” he email@example.com
SOURCE: Daily Monitor