A critical analysis of the efficacy of law as tool to control Deforestation in Uganda

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Kampala International University, School of Law
Uganda is a tropical country and much of it lies on the African plateau between 900-1,500 meters above sea level. The bio-geography, climate and topography have contributed to the biological richness of the ecosystems of the country. The tropical high forests occur in three distinct geographical zones, characterized by rainfaU regimes; the eastern rim of the Western Rift Valley in the west, the broad belt around the north-western shores of Lake Victoria and the mountains in the east of the country. The greater proportion of the original forest cover has been reduced and is degraded. The forest vegetation is a complexity, influenced climate, altitude and soil depth and provides an area of species endem ism ofthe global significance. Much of the tropical forest ecosystem under formal management remains in the protected forest ecosystem comprising the National Parks, Wildlife Reserves and Forest Reserves covering about 14 per cent ofthe country's area. A large pmtion ofthe tropical high forests has been harvested and treated and therefore no s ignificant areas of the forest are completely original and natural. Some tropical high forests still exists on the public and private land outside the protected areas; however the forests are largely degraded and . threatened through uncontrolled harvesting and forest clearance for other land uses. The tropical forests are vital to the economy, society and the environment. Large portions carry commercial species of trees that provide economic bases for the country's wood economy. They provide energy, non-wood forest products and employment as well as supporting the subsistence needs of the rural population and are vital for environmental services that contribute to agricultural production. The biodiversity values contribute to natural beauty that is the basis fo·r tourism contributing to socio-economic development and wildlife conservation as well as offering basis for research and education. Uganda had well-established tropical forest management systems dating from the I 900s that declined by mid 1970s. Initially the forests were exploited for rubber and later for timber. The forest yie ld was r.egulated by polycyclic method of working with 30-40 year intervals between felling. Subsequently the monocyclic method of yield regulation involving forest canopy management to permit rapid regeneration was adopted to increase the yield of exploitable timber sizes. The forest management practices in the Forest Reserves were based on the forest management plans (FMPs) supported by ecological and s ilvicu ltural research. The increased awareness of the biodiversity and environmental values of the tropical forests iv during the late 1980s lead to a change in management to more diverse regime aimed at sustainable utilization of the forest resources. Forest zoning has been introduced to provide products and services to an increasing population and various stakeholders and the forest management integrates the local community participation and needs. The tropical forests are currently managed under different institutions, the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Uganda Forestry Authority (UF A). The policies and legislation generally focus on different components of biodiversity (wildlife), especially the fauna and trees; however common conservation strategies involving zoning the tropical high forests are being applied. Sound silviculture, well planned and coordinated forest management activities supported by sufficient investment and strong institutions will ensure the sustainable management of the tropical high forests
A research dissertation submitted to the school of laws in partial fulfillment of the a ward of Bachelor’s Degree in law at Kampala International University
Law, Deforestation, Uganda