Original Articles

Linking forest tenure and anthropogenic factors with institutions and the effectiveness of management in Mpigi forests, central Uganda


Abstract

This paper reveals the investigated effects of forest tenure and physical and socioeconomic correlates on conservation and management of forests in the Mpigi District, central Uganda. Tree diversity was surveyed in 156 nested plots of 20 m × 50 m. Tree density, mean diameter at breast height (dbh) and evidence of illegal forest use were used as indicators of forest conditions and the efficacy of forest management. The stand structure characteristics (i.e. tree density, mean dbh and basal area of trees) were higher in private forests than in Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) and Local Forest Reserves (LFRs) due to effective regulation and monitoring measures by private forest owners. Diameter size for all species combined followed the inverse J-shape, typical of mixed-age stands. Forests in close proximity to a dense human settlement and far from roads were heavily used, suggesting a high likelihood of population pressure on forest resources and limited capacity of forest owners and managers to effectively control and halt degradation in forests far away from agencies. A high proportion of plots in LFRs (81%) had signs of illegal forest use compared to CFRs (67%) and private forests (45%), even in LFRs and CFRs that were located closer to forest management institutions. Tenure alone did not ensure that forest condition is maintained but other factors such as distance to maintained roads and human pressure on the resource were also important. Management of forests in Mpigi needs to recognise and adequately address human impacts and improve the capacity of forest agencies and owners to monitor and regulate harvesting of forest produce.

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