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Local organisations and decentralised forest management in Uganda: roles, challenges and policy implications

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Policy and legal changes in Uganda have partly devolved forest management from the central to local governments and local community organisations. This paper analyses the roles, responsibilities, powers, legal instruments and incentives for local organisations that are implementing decentralised forest governance in Uganda. Semi-structured questionnaires and key informant interviews of 236 respondents revealed that local organisations promoted decentralised forestry functions such as forest monitoring, making of forest byelaws, tree planting, environmental education, collaborative and integrated planning and budgeting. Donor and central government fiscal support, awareness of forest degradation, understanding the role of forestry and the desire to conserve forests motivated local organisations to participate in decentralised forest management. Lack of a clear policy on ownership and control of private forest resources, inadequate fiscal support from national government, inequitable distribution of benefits and inadequate delegation of decision-making powers over forest management to local actors have hindered full implementation of decentralised forest management. The central government should empower local government authorities and support organisations to effectively implement decentralised forest management in Uganda.
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Keywords: Uganda; decentralisation; forest resources; local organisations; roles

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Community Forestry and Extension, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. 2: Department of Forest Science, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa. 3: Department of Conservation Ecology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa. 4: Department of Forest Biology and Ecosystems Management, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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