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The Drivers Behind Private Natural Forest Degradation in Uganda

POLICY BRIEF The Drivers Behind Private Natural Forest Degradation in Uganda

Executive Summary

This policy brief examines the drivers behind degradation of private natural forests in Uganda based on extensive fieldwork conducted in the Kibaale district in Western Uganda. Uganda’s private natural forests are under immense pressure and are predicted to be extinct in 20 years. It is explained how the loss of forest cover is directly impacted by rapid population growth which in turn creates an increasing demand for farmland to the detriment of private natural forests. It is, however, made clear that these are not so much causes of deforestation as mechanisms by which the true underlying causes are transformed into actions that degrade the environment. The underlying causes in this case being the institutional and policy framework for forestry management. The policy brief therefore reviews the gaps between the stated policies and the actual perform- ance of the relevant institutions. On this backdrop a number of recommendations to bridge the gaps at both the national and district level are forwarded.




Key Findings


Policy Gaps



Written by:

Stefan Steen, Jakob Christensen, CARE International in Uganda September, 2011


U ganda’s private forests make up around 70% (2.5 million ha) of the country’s total forest cover, but

they are declining rapidly, and estimates based upon the most recent biomass study (2008) suggest that within 20 years, forests outside of protected areas will be almost extinct. Private natural forests play a major role in the lives of the Ugandan people. The vast ma- jority of Ugandans rely on woody biomass for domes- tic energy consumption, and the forests are for many the only source of products such as timber, poles, medicinal herbs and other non-timber products. In addition, they provide important safety-nets for many households at times when food and resources are scarce. The forests also perform vital ecological func- tions and are vital for providing important ecosystem services by regulating global and local climatic condi- tions and acting as a carbon sink. Degradation and extinction threaten Uganda’s private natural forests and they are increasingly being con- verted to settlements and farmland for food and cash crops. The most immediate impacts of deforestation

occur at the local level and threaten the integrity and sustainability of this vital natural resource. The cur- rent and potential impacts include increased floods, changing and unpredictable seasons, fluctuation in water flow, soil erosion, shortage of medicinal herbs together with building and crafts materials, loss of biodiversity, decline in water quantity and quality and reduced ground water recharge. The district of Kibaale in Western Uganda serves as a good example of the national scenario; the district’s forests are under immense pressure and despite well-crafted regulations and policies, the district lost approximately half of its forest cover from 1990-2005 and at the current level of deforestation the forests will be depleted in the near future. As it is indicated below, this is a view shared by the majority of the 102 villagers in Kibaale district interviewed during this study. More than 70% believe that the private natural forests will be completely depleted in 5 years in their locality.

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vast majority of Uganda’s biodiversity is found

In order to reach this goal, and halt the rapid de-


forests in the Albertine Rift Valley, which some

forestation experienced in the 1990s, a number of

of Kibaale’s forests are a part of. The Albertine Rift Valley is globally acknowledged as a major center of diversity and endemic species and ranks first out of the 119 distinct terrestrial eco-regions of continental Africa in terms of endemic species of birds, mam- mals, reptiles and amphibians and second in terms of globally threatened species. The private forest areas in the Albertine Rift Valley have important conservation values; not just on their species con- tent, but because they provide linkages or corridors between other larger forests, allowing connectivity which is important for species dispersal and gene flow between larger forests. The massive deforesta- tion in Kibaale does, however, threaten the existence of this corridor. Should the corridor collapse, it could

strategies were crafted. Among others, to encourage private forest owners to set aside private forests as permanent forest land, to support the capacities of individuals and user groups to manage the private natural forests sustainably, and provide advice and assistance. A national Tree Fund was also envisioned to promote and support commercial and non-com- mercial tree planting and growing at local and na- tional level. Furthermore, agroforestry was intended to be a strategic enterprise as a means of poverty reduction, halting environmental degradation, and improving agricultural output. The main responsibilities of implementing the poli- cies belong to the following three actors:


have dramatic consequences for the flora and fauna of the Albertine Rift Valley. The purpose of this brief is to highlight the key drivers behind the private natural deforestation in Uganda and on this basis provide recommendations for further action to minimize the deforestation. The findings are based on a broad consultation process and in-depth field work in Kibaale district. Dur- ing the study, 35 key informants have been inter- viewed and 102 household interviews conducted. The household interviews were undertaken in four villages in different sub-counties. The sub-counties have different geographical, environmental and agricultural features and the study therefore serves as a good representation for much of the rural life in not only Kibaale but most of Uganda. The key informant interviews conducted includes LC1, LC3 and LC5 chairpersons, district and ministerial public officials, representatives from the Bunyoro Kingdom and WWF, and Dr. Nelson Turyahabwe from Makerere University.

Policy Framework for Management of Private Natural Forests

Several strides have been made to provide a frame- work for sustainable management of private natural forests in Uganda. After a turbulent reform period dur- ing the 1990s, the responsibilities for the forest sector were finally settled in 2003 with the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act based on the Uganda Forestry Policy of 2001 and the National Forest Plan of 2002. The Uganda Forestry Policy from 2001 stated that “The development and sustainable management of natural forests on private land will be promoted.”

•  The Forestry Sector Support Department (FSSD) is, on behalf of the Ministry of Water and Environ- ment, mandated to (a) inspect, monitor and co- ordinate central government initiatives and policies in the districts, (b) co-ordinate and advise persons and organizations in relation to forest projects, and (c) provide technical advice, support, supervision and training to local governments to enable them to carry out the delivery of forestry services. Further- more, the FSSD is the only mandated organization to give out licenses for timber harvesting based on the information received from the District Forestry Services (DFS).

•  The District Forestry Services are working in each district on behalf of the district to (a) promote forestry awareness, (b) promote the planting of trees, (c) assist in the development and provision of advisory services relating to private forests, and (d) ensure that any person willfully destroying any forest resources in contravention of the forestry laws is prosecuted.

•  The National Agricultural Advisory Services’ (NAADS) main mission is to increase farmers’ access to information, knowledge and technology for profit- able production. However, the National Forest Plan also stipulates that NAADS should work together with the DFS in providing extension services to private forest owners; that is, to (a) build the capacity of farm- ers to demand and use appropriate forestry advisory services, (b) support the management of private forests, and (c) support and develop agroforestry.

There are, however, a few weak spots in the leg- islation, because the use of the private forests is completely up to the owner of it, and the forests are therefore subject to the whims of the owner. The owner is thus free to do whatever he pleases with his trees. Furthermore, the laws encourage private forest owners to register their forests in the districts, but it is not required and thus occurs rarely.

A review of the policy framework for the private forestry sector thus reveals a well-crafted system, in- tended to promote sustainable forestry and institu- tions that should work together to provide support, advice and training to private forest owners.


KEY FIndIngs

T he drivers behind degradation of private natural forests can be divided in two groups, proximate

and underlying causes. Proximate causes are human activities (land uses) directly effecting the environ- ment resulting in conversion of private natural forests to other types of land use. The underly- ing factors transpire at the institutional level, and constitute the underlying reasons for the proximate causes. That is, the complex social, political and economic factors that shape the conditions under which human-environmental relations of structural character take place. The following presents the driv- ers of deforestation identified at both of these levels.

The Proximate Level

Farming constitutes the only livelihood option for 90% of Kibaale’s population, which creates a high demand for farmland. Conversion of forests into farmland is therefore the main proximate cause of deforestation in Kibaale. The demand for land is further exacerbated by Kibaale’s population growth rate which ranks among the highest in Uganda with an alarming population increase of 5.9% annu- ally, which causes Kibaale’s population to double approximately every 12 years. The search for new farmland pressures people to move to hitherto untouched forested areas and clear the trees and shrubs for farming. Moreover, land owners who hold sufficiently land to feed their families are still prone to clear the remaining forests in search of improve- ments in livelihoods. The villagers of Kibaale are often very poor, and their only avenue of additional income is expansion of farming activities, and hereby producing a surplus of products to be sold. The individual farmers have little economic incentive for conserving their forests, because conservation offers few tangible benefits, whereas conversion to farmland or plantations offers almost immediate benefits. Without incentives farmers are prone to continue the deforestation. Another factor that accelerates the rate of defor- estation is poor farming techniques. The villagers in Kibaale are often poorly trained in the use of mod- ern farming techniques. They are e.g. most often unaware of the proper ways of spacing their crops to boost the outtake, the need for crop rotation, the benefits of letting the soil rest (fallow), and the negative consequences of burning trees and shrubs to add soil fertility. In addition, the use of fertilizers is almost unheard of. The farming techniques presently employed cause the soil to get exhausted within few


years, and farmers therefore have to go to the forests in search of new farmland. With proper farming tech- niques in place, farmers would be able to increase their output considerably, which could reduce the pressure on the forests. Access to markets, expansion of infrastructure, and the introduction of power-tools (e.g. chainsaws) are often mentioned as main drivers of deforestation. In Kibaale these are, however, not significant drivers in themselves; rather, when available, they merely ac- celerate the pace of the deforestation. If there were no new markets, infrastructure expansion, or power- tools the villagers would instead burn the trees or leave them to rot to make way for new farmland. This is a wasteful practice because the trees otherwise could have been used for firewood, poles, charcoal, or timber.

The Institutional Level

The drivers of deforestation at the institutional level revolves around three general and intertwined prob- lems; namely, a lack of priority of the forestry sector, severe underfunding and understaffing, and political interference and corruption.

Lack of Priority

Even though the private forests constitute 70% of Uganda’s forests, the private forestry sector is of little priority to the central government. This lack of prioriti- zation permeates the political system at both govern- ment and district-level. A token of this is the lacking political commitment to implement and enforce poli- cies concerning the private natural forests which is e.g. the case with the Tree Fund that was established with the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act of 2003, but so far has not been operationalized. An often unnoticed side-effect of the lacking com- mitment is the widespread apathy imbuing the staff- members working with forestry matters at all levels, because they feel they are fighting a losing battle, and the leaders are ignoring and sometimes working against them.

Underfunding and Understaffing

The most apparent indicator of the lacking priority among the governing bodies in the central and local governments is the inadequate finances allocated for the forestry institutions overseeing the forests on private lands; namely the DFS and FSSD. As a consequence, both organizations are understaffed and lack means of transportation. Both the DFS’ and

FSSD’s budgets and staffing are considered extremely inadequate to fulfill their mandates. Kibaale’s DFS employs only three people and has one motorcycle with limited fuel, whereas the FSSD employs 12 tech- nical staff and eight field staff without any means of transportation. When budgets are made for Uganda’s many sectors, the forestry sector is consist- ently among those who receive less. This financial year, the Natural Resource Department, which DFS is a part of, is budgeted to receive USH149 million, amounting to 0.59% of Kibaale district’s budget – this is a decrease of USH5.7 million compared to last financial year. In comparison, the agricultural sector (production) received more than 20 times as much amounting to 12.6%. The chart below illustrates the low priority of natural resources in Kibaale district’s

budget. Last financial year the DFS generated USH295 million from Kibaale’s private forests from permits and licenses, but received less than USH20 million (6.7%) in return, to be shared with the rest of the Natural Resource Department. This is in spite of an adopted policy in Kibaale stating that 20% of the revenues gathered should be returned to the DFS, but due to lacking commitment in the budgetary process, it has never been implemented. The FSSD was budgeted to receive USH160 million in the last financial year of which it only received around half. The FSSD estimates that it would need a one-off payment of USH5.4 billion and a significant boost of its annual allowances the coming financial years to get fully operational.

the coming financial years to get fully operational. Political Interference and Corruption Uganda’s forests

Political Interference and Corruption

Uganda’s forests constitute a great treasury for Uganda’s politicians and are therefore the object of much political attention and interference. The political interference works in both formal and informal ways. The formal interference is particularly outspoken in regards to the allocation of funds for the forestry sector - especially to the DFS. The LC5 council members are not implementing their own policies when it comes to the budget allocation. The

money allocated to the forestry sector also suffers from informal political interference, and substantial amounts of money tend to evaporate on their way through the political system. This manifests itself in the FSSD’s financial capabilities, the larger part of the yearly allocated budget usually disappears despite being accounted for due to corruption by ”big peo- ple in the top of the system”. Obviously, this places severe constraints on FSSD’s ability to carry out its many responsibilities.

1 There are also a few volunteering forest rangers who may have motorcycles, but they are outside of the local government structures.



T he political framework for the management of the forests vis-à-vis the problems inherent in

the forestry sector create a gap between the stated policies and the actual performance of the relevant institutions.

Due to financial constraints, political interference and understaffing, the FSSD struggles to carry out its many functions.

•  The lack of staff and means of transportation  render it difficult to reach the different districts to inspect and offer advice and training.

•  The limited budget and the lacking staff and trans- portation severely restrict the DFS’ ability to provide extension services and it is therefore not providing adequate training and sensitization to the private forest owners.

•  The district has prioritized reforestation, but the  procedure is without proper structures for supplying land owners with tree-seedlings through the lower local government system. Therefore, only few land owners receive tree-seedlings, and those who do are offered little or no training resulting in a low survival rate of seedlings.

•  Even though FSSD acts as an extension of the Min- •  There is limited knowledge about the need to con-

istry of Water and Environment, it is equipped with very limited means of sanction. A glaring example of this is that the FSSD has only endorsed one license for timber harvesting for the whole of Uganda, effec- tively making all activities by pit sawyers on private land illegal. Most pit sawyers are, however, in posses- sion of licenses issued at district-level without FSSD’s consent. Consequently, tree cutting is being licensed by DFS without the proper checks and balances that only the FSSD is capable of offering.

serve the biodiversity among the rural population in the district. The WWF-funded programme ‘Conserva- tion of Biodiversity in the Albertine Rift Forests of Uganda’ has increased the knowledge in some sub- counties, but the larger part is still unaware of the importance of bio-diversity. The unawareness result in reluctance to plant indigenous tree species that support biodiversity but have less commercial value for the land owners.

•  FSSD is mandated to take action against irregulari- ties, but even though the FSSD is aware of miscon- ducts taking place in the districts, it has neither the authority, nor the means to take action against it. In case of misconduct, the FSSD does not have any sanctioning powers because FSSD has not been equipped with the required authority and budget. FSSD’s authority is furthermore undermined because the DFS’ staff is employed and paid by and report to the District Chief Administrative Officers. The DFS is therefore not being held accountable because the FSSD has no means of monitoring and sanctioning misconduct.

The lacking interest and underfunding entail that the DFS is not supporting the private forest owners to manage their forests sustainably and struggles to provide them with training and assistance.

•  Kibaale enjoys high revenues from the private  forests, collected by the DFS, but has been hesitant in reinvesting them in the DFS to provide for sustain- able management of the private natural forests.


NAADS is well-funded and well-staffed compared to the FSSD and the DFS, but is not focusing on forestry matters.

•  In Kibaale, NAADS has a budget of USH60-80 mil- lion and employs one coordinator, one staff member working with livestock, and one working with crops in each sub-county. The staff is, however, not work- ing with forestry and is mainly educated in agricul- ture without training in forestry and agroforestry.

•  Despite reports of favoritism and corruption,  NAADS has an impact on some farmers by sup- porting them with training and crops or livestock. NAADS is, however, focusing primarily on agricultur- al expansion and commercialization without empha- sis on biodiversity and sustainable forestry manage- ment. NAADS work on a demand-driven basis which means that the farmers themselves choose which enterprises they want, but without training and sen- sitization in sustainable forestry the farmers tend to choose the seemingly most profitable. Agroforestry is therefore extremely rare. Consequently, the forests are often cleared to plant crops such as maize, rice, and beans provided by NAADS.

The central government seems to have adopted the attitude that population growth is a problem that will and should solve itself, and therefore political action is unnecessary. Despite having a well-crafted policy framework for dealing with population growth, there is little interest in funding the imple- menting institutions.

•  The Population Secretariat, which is responsible  for sensitizing and campaigning against population growth, has very limited funding. It only receives enough funds from the central government to cover wages and has to rely on donors for funding activi- ties. It is therefore struggling to make an impact.

•  Family planning is not reaching the greater part of  the population, and when efforts of family planning are being made, the contraceptives dispersed have a reputation among the women interviewed at the household level of causing multiple side-effects, which causes women to refrain from using them.

•  It is difficult to legislate against how many chil- dren a family should have, because this is a personal choice. Consequently, what is needed is a change in parents’ attitudes towards family sizes, but this is hampered by the central government’s lacking com- mitment to reduce the population growth.



T his policy brief has been prepared to bring to the attention of leaders and development partners

recommendations that can help conserve Uganda’s

remaining private natural forests. This is for the ben- efit of both the humans living in their vicinities and the global community, who relies on their critical ecological functions, together with the fragile flora and fauna the forests host.

If evasive action is not taken immediately, districts

like Kibaale will soon face extinction of their private natural forests and exhaustion of their farmland. Such a development will force future generations to migrate to new districts where they will soon face the same problems. A development that – if things are not changed – will probably continue until there are no private natural forests left in Uganda.

To the Central Government

a. Investment in natural resources and sustainable

forestry should be encouraged. Districts should be encouraged to invest in natural resource management and sustainable forestry. This is currently being hampered because natural resource management is not a priority area in the National Development Plan which is the founda- tion for the districts’ distribution of funds. Another source of funding could come from operationalizing the Tree Fund which could be a sustainable source of funds for planting and growing indigenous trees. The Tree fund should be operationalized according

to the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act as fast as possible.

b. Commit to a forestry sector with strong, well-

funded, and well-staffed local and central organi- zations. The policy framework for sustainable private natural forestry in Uganda is well-crafted but is not implemented due to little interest, low budgets and under-staffing. The current policies should be

implemented and the forestry organizations at local and central level strengthened. Political will and

a substantial increase in funding for the sector is needed to implement the policies.

c. Make a thorough review of the institutional


The institutional landscape in Uganda’s forest sector

is vast and confusing which causes unnecessary

uncertainty about responsibilities. Efforts should be made to strengthen the lines of command so that


is clear who is responsible for what. In addition,


should be considered if some of the institutions


could benefit from being merged or working closely together. E.g. NAADS and FSSD work with two important and immensely interlinked areas but they work completely autonomously of each other and sometimes undermine each other’s efforts. If they worked closer together, FSSD’s knowledge about for- estry could be put together with NAADS’ knowledge about agriculture to provide a strong partnership capable of grasping the crosscutting and interlinked problems that deforestation presents in a collec-

tive effort. This could – among other things -help to develop agricultural practices with less destructive impact on the forests.

d. Consider re-centralizing DFS.

The DFS is supposed to be supervised by the FSSD, but because it is employed, paid, and supervised by

the districts, it has its allegiances there. In order to in- crease the monitoring and supervision of the DFS by the FSSD, a possibility could be to recentralize DFS to be under FSSD. DFOs who are paid and monitored by the FSSD may be more able to stay clear of local political interference. Such a decision should not be taken lightly, but be based on a thorough review of the forestry sector. The health sector has made con- siderable improvement by a similar maneuver.

e. Take action against corruption and political

interference. At the current level of corruption and informal politi- cal interference, even a well-funded forestry sector would be unable to preclude preventable deforesta- tion due to the failure of government institutions to function effectively. Misconduct and corruption in the forestry sector should be investigated by the Inspector General of Government. Civil society watchdogs could be of assistance to the investiga- tion. If not addressed, the misconducts may obstruct

any headway made in the forestry sector. More

transparency and accountability in funds should be implemented to ensure the allocated funds are not


f. Take evasive action against the population

growth. Central and local governments should take a firm stand in the question of population growth. The Population Secretariat should be better funded and have political backing from the government to imple- ment the policies on population growth. Sensitization on family planning should be upscaled and better methods of birth control should be introduced.

g. Promote sharing of best-practices and knowl- edge sharing. Meetings between stakeholders at the different

g. Promote sharing of best-practices and knowl-

edge sharing. Meetings between stakeholders at the different government-levels should be promoted to facilitate sharing of knowledge and enthusiasm about forest conservation. An annual conference for manage-

ment of private forests with attendance of all DFOs, stakeholders and selected private forest owners could provide a boost in the sharing of knowledge. The FSSD is already mandated to facilitate this, but lacks funds.

h. Incentives for promoting and implementing

policies at district-level. The annual national performances assessment of local governments’ budget processes should include

incentives to ensure that policies of forest conser- vation and sustainable forestry are promoted and implemented. The performance level should have an impact on future budget allocations. This should provide incentives for local governments to improve their performance.

i. Fast-track the REDD programme.

The REDD programme’s economic incentives for for- est conservation should be implemented as soon as possible. FSSD estimates that the programme will be ready for implementation in 2014, but at the current rate of deforestation that may be too late in some districts. The process should therefore be acceler- ated. Support to private forest owners to register their forests should be provided so that they are ready to enter the programme. Many farmers in Uganda have been facilitated by e.g. WWF to conserve their forests in hope of receiving tangible benefits which the im- plementation of the REDD programme could provide. Because of poverty and a lack of alternative liveli- hoods the farmers are, however, unlikely to conserve their forests for many years to come without receiving

any incentives. This renders it urgent to implement the REDD programme as soon as possible.

To the Districts

a. Increase the budget and hire more qualified

staff for the DFS. The DFO in Kibaale has a radio programme a few Saturdays each month which does have an impact. But the DFS should be more visible in the district and organize trainings in better farming methods and sustainable management of forests. Hiring a trained forestry official with adequate funding for

activities in each forested sub-county would help to conduct regular training sessions and support the private forest owners.

b. Ring-fence revenues from charcoal and timber

licenses. In order to finance the increased activities of the DFS, all or the greater part of the revenues generat- ed annually from timber and charcoal licenses could be ring-fenced for forestry activities. If this is not possible, Kibaale’s policy of using 20% of the DFS’ revenues for natural resource management should at least be implemented. At present most timber- licenses in Uganda are given without the approval

of the FSSD and are therefore technically illegal. This should be corrected.

c. Provide sustainable livelihoods options.

Alternative livelihood options such as bee-hives, agroforestry, and ecotourism should be made avail- able for private forest owners. If NAADS supported private forest owners to manage their forests and were to embark on forest conservation, sustainable management, and agroforestry, it could make a sig- nificant impact. In order to implement this, NAADS should recruit staff-members educated in forestry and train the current staff in forestry matters.


d. Explore opportunities for eco-tourism.

There are still large patches of forest left with great biodiversity that has possibilities for ecotourism, but they are disappearing rapidly so swift action is necessary. Eco-tourism could work as an incentive to conserve the forests for the adjacent communities. For instance, in the area around the Muziizi River in Kibaale there are still forests with rich biodiversity and a great potential for ecotourism. The DFS should take a leadership position on this issue with support from FSSD. A partnership with NFA and relevant NGOs, who are working in the area already, could be


To the Civil Society

a. More knowledge about private forests should be

generated. Farmers’ land use is often driven by economic incen- tives. They grow what is most profitable. Hence, for farmers to change their land use, they must be persuaded by economic incentives. This makes it significant to understand the return of investments in agriculture compared to sustainable enterprises. E.g. what are the returns from maize, beans, tea, and pine and eucalyptus plantations compared to enrich- ment strategies such as herbal medicine, bee hives, and passion fruits? This data could help to promote enterprises that are beneficial for simultaneous forest conservation and income generation at the local level. An international perspective should also be adopted. Civil society should explore good and bad practices in other countries in order to advocate for the government to learn from them. There are certain countries like Rwanda that have managed to turn the negative trends of deforestation, and it should be explored if these countries’ positive experi-

ences could be helpful for Uganda.

b. Civil society should be aggressive and hold the

government accountable. The government has so far not been held account- able for the massive deforestation and the poor per- formance of the institutions mandated to deal with this. Government members and the relevant institu- tions seem to disclaim their responsibility and blame everybody else. To ensure that the government and its institutions live up to their mandated responsibil- ity civil society should not take part in this blame game but instead adopt a more aggressive ap- proach. Certain NGOs like ACODE have already been successful in targeting individuals in the government and the institutions and take them to court.


c. Monitor the implementation of the REDD pro-

gramme. For a successful implementation of the REDD pro- gramme, civil society needs to advocate for a system that ensures that the economic incentives, which the programme is built upon, reach the relevant farmers, who are conserving their forest, and reward them with economic incentives for continuing this work. If the incentives do not reach the poor rural land own-

ers, the programme is unlikely to facilitate conserva- tion of the private natural forests.

d. Strengthen and expand private forest owner


Registration of private forests currently transpires on

a voluntary basis which has led to very few regis-

trations. Efforts should be made to facilitate the

registration of a bigger part of the private forests and hereby mobilize the owners in strong local organiza- tions that can advocate the interest of forest owners at both district and government-level. Mobilizing the private forest owners would also make the imple- mentation of the REDD programme easier, because the owners would already have registered their forests and adopted management plans.

e. Advocate for more focus on forest conservation

in the International Financial Institutions.

A large part of Uganda’s budget is financed by the

International Financial Institutions, the IMF and the World Bank. The donations are seldom unconditional and the International Financial Institutions therefore play an indirect role on the priorities of Uganda’s government. This causes certain problems for the forest sector, because forest conservation is not one of the top priorities of the financing institutions. Uganda’s government annually sets ceilings for how much money can be invested into the different sec-

tors according to the priorities. If budgets exceed

these ceilings, economic sanctions are likely to occur. There is a perceived influence by the international financing institutions in the process of setting these priorities. Although this influence cannot be proved

it is widely believed that the International Financial

Institutions do support and encourage this policy. As a result of the budget ceilings, government and district spending on the forest sector has been curtailed. A negative consequence of this is that the government and districts will refrain from chan- neling extra money into the forest sector because it is not a priority. Civil society should therefore gain deeper insight in the process of setting these ceilings and advocate for raising or removing them so that more money can be invested in the forestry sector.