It has been three months since Pro-Biodiversity Conservationists in Uganda (PROBICOU) started work to secure the future of Kafuga Pocket Forest in Uganda, following our Save Kafuga Forest campaign. PROBICOU have an established presence in the villages that depend on Kafuga Forest as they have been working to protect and manage the forest for years. They have started mobilising government officials and the local community in a bid to secure the forest following the threat to cut it down early this year.
Local villagers putting pressure on the authorities
PROBICOU report that there is widespread support in the villages that depend on Kafuga Forest. A campaign for the right to local ownership of the forest has already been signed by 674 people. This is an important development, showing the importance of Kafuga to the local community. It will put increased pressure on the authorities to act, and adds weight to the international outcry surrounding the decision to destroy this important forest.
The contours of Kafuga Forest are currently being mapped, with the help of Rainforest Rescue, which is critical to the long term protection. We are supporting the PROBICOU team to finalise a local forest management plan, and consultations are currently underway with the district council and local communities.
Offering alternative sources of income for long term conservation
Thanks to the many generous donations we received, we are supporting PROBICOU to strengthen the livelihoods of the populations in the surrounding villages. Over the coming year, nursery beds will raise seedlings of high commercial value. 100,000 passion fruit trees and 20,000 mango trees will be distributed to local farmers, and they will receive training in order to care for the trees and yield productive crops. Not only will these trees improve the economic situations of the farmers, but they will also reduce the pressure on Kafuga Forest as a source of agricultural land and timber.
Fire in Kafuga Forest
There still remain a number of challenges to overcome. In early September, part of the forest was set on fire by unknown individuals. As the area had previously been cleared, the long grass and wood was highly flammable. Fortunately, the fire was brought under control with the help of the Forest Guard and the District Environment Officer. But there is an acute need for more forest guardians, particularly whilst Kafuga is still under threat. Currently, protection is ensured by one Forest Officer and some volunteers who have come forward from the community on a part-time basis.
With your continued support, PROBICOU are drumming up support from the local communities and laying the foundations for a sustainable future for Kafuga Forest and the animals, plants and families who depend on it. A huge thank you for making this possible!
You can still support the Save Kafuga Forest campaign by visiting our page on JustGiving or get in touch directly to find out more. We are so grateful to all your support over the past months.