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NFA Allows Residents to Access Echuya Forest

National Forestry Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with people living next to Echuya forest allowing them to access it.
National Forestry Authority Signs MOU with People Neighboring EChuya Forest.

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National Forestry Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with people living next to Echuya forest allowing them to access it. Echuya Forest is surrounded by Bakiga in Kabale, Bafumbira in Kisoro and the Batwa communities. The forest was a habitat for the Batwa but they were relocated and given houses.

The 3403 Hectare forest was gazzetted a central forest in 1939. It is a major tourist destination because it is a habitat of various bird species. Echuya forest has been out of bounds to residents. Charles Zoreka, a resident of Karengyere village says that under the new arrangement they have been allowed to access the forest and also share some of the funds raised from tourists visiting the forest.

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Zoreka says under the collaborative management system the community is expected to put up infrastructure in the forest such as welcoming centers for tourists, and walk boards. Leo Twinomuhangi, the officer in charge of South Western National Forestry Authority says under the collaborative forest management the community owns the forests and is allowed to preserve it.

He says that the memorandum also allows residents to collect firewood, put up beehives and collect herbs for medicinal from the forest. The Sustainable Tourism in the Albertan Rift –STAR- is funding the collaboration.

 

 

Muhwezi Onesmus the Tourism specialist – STAR- says that 20 million shillings has been allocated for the construction of the Welcoming center for tourists.

 

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Previously hundreds of people were arrested and others killed in the forest before the signing of the agreements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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