Deliberate forest conservation can reverse existing global crisis

A colobus monkey in Bugoma Central Forest Reserve.

Guest Writer

As people face different global challenges currently, there is need to know what we need to do and when to do it to overcome them through universal communication strategies.

The great Sir David Attenborough said in 2020, “Saving the planet is now a communications challenge.” He must have said that not to belittle the science or undervalue the importance of research but because fundamentally there should be a strategy in place to deal with our problems.

If humans choose to do nothing about those challenges, a climate crisis will continue to hit the globe as it is seen in the current an increase in global temperatures, unprecedented floods, drought, famine and loss of important biodiversity including plants, birds and animals.

There is also an increase in crop pests and diseases, increase in conflicts for natural resources, increase in zoonotic diseases and pandemics and many more.

These are mostly a result of human interference with nature resulting in climate change, thus, climate crisis.

Our main focus as people living on planet earth is to convince everyone to appreciate that there are changes in our climate but also come up with ways of how mitigate it or even adopt to the changes.

This should done in ways where people different people can easily understand this global phenomenon.

This implies that the message given to communities in Mandwiga village, Butoolr parish in Kyangwali sub-county in Kikuube district can be the same as that for the people living in Kampala city but in simpler ways.

By so doing, it will reduce on the challenge of communications problem.

A lot of conservation efforts have continued to be done by different players including Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), government and other corporations besides an increase in media coverage of trees a natural climate solution, creating a momentum for tree planting seen as a tangible action that offers a chance for engaging in climate action.

The enthusiasm for planting trees has grown rapidly around the globe with many established tree-planting organisations doubling or even tripling their level of activity as new players continually enter the arena.

Corporate companies have joined the campaign involving themselves for their public image and to be seen as actors in the climate action movement.

But the question remains as to why there is still an increase in the levels of degradation. Why are natural ecosystems such as Bugoma forest still suffering human wrath of degradation? Is it because we hate to see nature thriving?

Why would we allow a natural tropical forest such as Bugoma Forest Reserve that covers an area of 401 square kilometres (155 square miles/40,1000 hectares) dominated with iron wood (cynometra alexandri)  locally known as Muhimbi to just vanish like that?

Wouldn’t the next generation judge us harshly for failure to stand up and protect a natural beauty like Bugoma forest reserve that is drained by four small rivers including Nguse, Rutoha, Hohwa and Rwemiseke with the second last no being seasonal all pouring their water into Lake Albert locally known as Mwitanzige?

I feel that we indeed have to do something unusual to the forest on the Western Rift Valley which offers breathtaking views of the countryside and other surrounding areas.

The unusual thing we have to do is to restore the degraded patches of this forest as soon as we can.

The trees make Bugoma a big environmental asset in the region since they absorb carbon dioxide gas emission from the atmosphere.

If we do this, we can be able to restore the species richness of this forest through having an array of important plant and animal species.

Bugoma is a biodiversity hotspot worth exploring by tourists if we go by the information from Uganda Safaris since it hosts an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna species.

Bugoma forest reserve is a central conservation forest which is the 12th top places of importance out of the 65 forests studies for biodiversity besides being the 17th among forests with exceptional species.

There are currently more than 34 species of mammals including four globally threatened mammal species. There are nine mammal species listed under IUCN’s Red List that live within the Bugoma forest reserve.

These include primates such an estimated 600 chimpanzees, the grey-cheeked mangabeys, the black and white colobus monkeys, the blue monkeys, the red-tailed monkeys, the vervet monkeys, buffaloes, bush elephants Uganda kobs, Uganda Mangabey monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, golden cats (profelis aurata) and side-stripped jackals among others, according to a 2010 census.

There are also nine species of reptiles, more than 257 seven species of butterflies and two species of large moths and two notable bird species that occur in Bugoma forest reserve include Nahan’s Francolin (Francelinus nahanis), the black-eared ground thrust (Zoothera camaronensis).

A small number of bush elephants were recorded in the recent years.

There are also nine species of reptiles, more than 255 tree and shrub species including seven species that are Albertine Rift endemics, more than 10 species that are globally threatened and 14 tree species listed under IUCN’s Red List.

Bugoma Forest Reserve is also a home to 20 species of amphibians including one species that is endemic to the Albertine Rift, 118 species of moths, 292 species of butterflies that include four species endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains.

There are more than 225 bird species that have been recorded in the forest and these include several Guinea-Congo Biome bird species with two of the noteworthy globally threatened bird species within the forest reserve including the black-eared ground thrush and Nahan’s francolin.

Given all that, should we really let this paradise just go without any efforts of trying to restore it? We can surely be kind to nature as it has been to us this time round.

Therefore, as different stakeholders, we shall need a whole range of skills to evolve conservation into a fast-moving, creative and results-focused sector to make those strategies a reality.

This means we need the brightest scientific minds but also the best leaders, the most successful marketers, the best legal and financial teams and people that can give the funds they need to deliver on their promises to global climate crises.


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