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Arua District Struggling to Protect Local Forest Reserves

Area residents have taken over large portions of the forest reserves to plant food crops while others are involved in illegal logging. Several reserves have also been turned into dumping sites, the most affected being Eruba local forest, Ezuku local forest and Kuluva local forest in Vurra sub-county.

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Arua district leaders are struggling to protect the local forest reserves amidst increasing cases of encroachment and human activity.

Area residents have taken over large portions of the forest reserves to plant food crops while others are involved in illegal logging. Several reserves have also been turned into dumping sites, the most affected being Eruba local forest, Ezuku local forest and Kuluva local forest in Vurra sub-county.

Natalia Drateru, one of the area councillors questions why the district is silent as the local forest reserves in the district are being encroached on by the locals. She says that if the current trend of encroachment continues, the district risks losing Eruba local Forest reserve.

//Cue in; “I don’t know…

Cue out… in the communities.”//

Meanwhile, Joel Pariyo, the LCIII chairperson of Vurra Sub County has blamed the encroachment on the failure of the district to open the boundaries of the forest reserve. He says the residents are taking advantage of this to continue planting food crops in the forest.

Yerusa Alikuru, the Secretary of Production and environment acknowledged the depletion of trees in the local forest reserve, noting that they have launched a campaign to restore the lost forest cover.

//Cue in; “People cut trees…

Cue out… our environment.”//

Stephen Ababa, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Arua says they have plans to undertake boundary opening as a measure to save the forests. He, however,  says that they are being delayed by resource constraints to undertake the exercise.

//Cue in; “We need a budget…

Cue out… forest reserves.”//

According to the report by the Global Forest Watch, between 2001 and 2021, the Arua District Local Government lost 3.43 hectares of tree cover, equivalent to a 12 per cent decrease in tree cover since 2000. Local governments in Uganda manage an estimated 5,000 hectares of local forest reserve, which constitute 70 per cent of the country’s forest.

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