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ILCB in Uganda

Since 2008, five Ugandan early-career field researchers have received an ILCB bursary, conducting a variety of projects, from ecosystem services analysis to the role of indigenous knowledge in conservation.

 In 2008, Simon Akwetaireho (PDF) was one of the first beneficiaries of an ILCB bursary. This made it possible for him to undertake field research investigating the economic value placed by local communities on the Mabamba Bay wetland (RAMSAR site) in Uganda's Wakiso district (PDF). By measuring not only the local but also national and international economic impact of ecological damage to these important wetlands, Simon succeeded in helping to place the need for their conservation on the agenda of development decision-makers in the region.

Now working in Uganda for an international NGO, the Wildlife Conservation Society, on a project aiming to conserve the biodiversity of northern Albertine Rift forests, Simon is putting to good use the skills and knowledge he developed through his ILCB-funded study.

 Susan Kyasiimire (PDF), winner of an ILCB bursary in 2008, conducted field research into the contribution made by specialized, indigenous knowledge to the conservation of three of Uganda’s national parks (PDF): Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Budongo Forest. Supported by the Ugandan Conservation Foundation, Susan recorded the traditions, totems and taboos of several different clans. She found that several customs protected the environment, such as traditional rotating grazing systems which allow the land to rest.

However, there were certain examples of traditional practices which had a negative effect on natural resources. Seasonal bush burning, for instance, leads to soil degradation. Such activities were seen in the context of conflict between the local people and the restrictions placed on them by conservation. Susan’s ILCB-backed research allowed her to conclude that there is a need for greater cooperation and communication between the authorities and conservation bodies and local communities if the resources are to be managed sustainably.

 Nsamba Mubarak Muwonge (PDF) obtained an ILCB bursary in 2009 for his research project on wood density variation within and between species in Budongo Forest, Uganda. Our funding and support enabled him to collect measurements from three different species of tree and obtain wood cores to measure wood density. His research will be important in presenting baseline information on wood density in the region, which itself is a crucial variable in carbon-cycle research.

 Erik Francis Acanakwo's (PDF) ILCB funding and support allowed him to carry out field research into diversity, uses and forest cover change in Mt. Otzi Forest Reserve, Ugand(PDF) in 2009. His overall aim was to evaluate the impact of tree extraction and use of forest products on tree diversity and forest cover between 1985 and 2008. Our support allowed Erik to make use of GIS and remote sensing to reconstruct the extent of forest cover from year to year, to sample various plants and identify them in order to build up an inventory of forest diversity, and to conduct social research amongst the local population to gauge local opinions regarding the forest.

 Christopher Busiinge (PDF) received ILCB funding in 2009 to fund his project to assess the sustainability of donor aided programs in enhancing social and economic development in Uganda (PDF). Focusing on the Kabarole Research and Resource Centre, Christopher investigated the socio-economic effects of donor programmes, the level of research involved in sustainable development and the challenges encountered by NGOs in implementing such programmes. His aim is to be able to provide recommendations and advice on appropriate measures to encourage sustainable social and economic development at a grassroots level.

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