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Wednesday,August 12,2020 07:33 AM

From isolation to joint effort

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th December 2000 03:00 AM

The increasing demand for the use of natural resources has accelerated the rate of destruction of these resources throughout the country.

The increasing demand for the use of natural resources has accelerated the rate of destruction of these resources throughout the country.

The country has embarked on the preparation of a national biodiversity strategy and action plan By Catherine Kigozi The increasing demand for the use of natural resources has accelerated the rate of destruction of these resources throughout the country. Ambrose Mugisha of Nature Uganda says the main cause of environment destruction is the interest by resource users. He says such groups have crippled conservation initiatives because they mainly depend on these resources. Mugisha also says the locals without consulting the authorities, take their own decisions on environment conservation. He says the theme of the day "Collaborative Natural Resource Management: Evolution from isolation to collaboration" was fit for the day. He thinks there is need to sensitise the population through collaboration so as to preserve nature. Destruction is mostly through overgrazing and agricultural production on natural habitats. The introduction of alien species like water hyacinth and Nile perch together with the continued pollution of water by industrial wastes have also threatened conservation efforts. Poaching, illegal timber harvesting and destruction of wetlands have affected the country's biodiversity. Uganda has about 18,000 better known plants and species in Africa which makes it the sixth African country with international regarded biodiversity. The most known species include savanna, semi-natural and natural vegetation. The most endangered species are the forests, savanna and wetlands. Forests have been destroyed in a bid to provide fuel, provide agricultural land and timber for houses. Wetlands have also been destroyed. These have been harvested to provide materials for crafts and also land for agriculture and construction. An official from the Forestry department, Makerere University says about 80% of Uganda's population living in rural areas depend heavily on wild species which are significant to the overall national biodiversity. He says the numerous values of biodiversity and its importance for development suggest there should be a shift from traditional nature conservation to much a broader biodiversity conservation. "There is need to shift from the defensive posture of protecting nature from impacts of development to an offensive effort seeking to meet people's needs from biological resources, while ensuring the long sustainability for the country's biotic wealth. Ugandans must recognise the need for the country to rely on biological resources for development," he says. Dr B.H. Ogwang, natural resource management specialist, NEMA in a report says strategies have been set up. "Streamlining of institutions in charge of biodiversity management has been undertaken alongside the various sectoral policies and laws. The country has also embarked on the preparation of a national biodiversity strategy and action plan. This would help in constituting the main framework for biodiversity," he states. In many parts of the country, wetlands have been harvested for reeds and other crafts. Government put up measures to protect wetlands under sections 36, 37 and 38 and 108 of the National environment statute 1995. It is an offence for one to change any wetlands without taking considerations of the guidelines. The measures are aimed at promoting environment protection. Other projects like the Lake Victoria management programme are also in place. This programme aims at conserving biodiversity and genetic resources in the lake. Ends

From isolation to joint effort

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