Conservationists decry activities threatening Echuya forest in Kigezi.
Conservationists in Rubanda and Kisoro district are decrying the
increasing human activities in Echuya Central Forest Reserve which
they say are threatening its existence.
They raised the concern while speaking during the Biodiversity
Conservation Forum for Echuya Central Forest Reserve landscape held at
Cephas in Hotel in Kabale Municipality. 20 percent of Echuya Central
Forest Reserve is in Kisoro district while 80 percent is in Rubanda
The National Forest Authority Sector Manager for Mafuga Robert
Grabilesaid that human activities such as illegal grazing, cutting
bamboo for craft, fires arising from wild honey hunters, illegal
cultivation in the reserve by people leaving around the reserve has
very much interfered with the forest.
Grabile said that tree species such as bamboo, hagenia abyssinsca,
myrica sadicitolia, syzygium, guineense and rubas apetatus have
started disappearing due to human activities.
He said that they are planning to National Forest Authority is
planning to distribute bamboo seeds to the communities around the
forest so that they can stop interfering with it looking for craft
The Echuya Central Forest Reserve supervisor Herbert Turyahabwa said
that however much they are carrying out operations and foot patrols to
arrest people carrying out illegal activities in the forest, they face
hostile to people especially from Kashasha and top leadership.
The Kisoro District Natural Resources Officer Vincent Mudanga said
that despite closing bamboo markets in the district and arresting
people who were found with bamboo products, degradation has continued
despite the surveillance. He said that they intensified patrols to
ensure that all the culprits are arrested.
Opening the meeting, the Executive director of Nature Uganda Achilles
Byaruhanga said that illegal activities in the forest degrade the
natural ecosystem and interferes with the natural habitats of animal
and bird species that are a huge tourist attraction. Byaruhanga said
that it is very had to stop illegal activities completely from the
forest reserve. He however asked National Forest Authority to tighten
security within the forest to deal with the encroachers.