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Cultural knowledge of forests and allied tree system management around Mabira Forest Reserve, Uganda

Mulugo L., Galabuzi C., Nabanoga G.N.K., Turyahabwe N., Eilu G., Obua J., Kakudidi E., Sibelet N.. 2020. Journal of Forestry Research, 31 (5) : p. 1787-1802.

DOI: 10.1007/s11676-019-00961-6

The cultural universe is sometimes confusing, surprising and murky, so many cultural maps get drawn, discussed and envisioned. A study was undertaken around Mabira Forest Reserve in central Uganda to identify the trees and shrubs culturally managed on-farm, assess the cultural practices of forest and tree system management and determine the relationship between farmer gender and forest and tree system management. We engaged 203 farmers in focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews to collect data. Qualitative data were jointly evaluated with farmers; quantitative data were analyzed in SPSS 20.0. The results showed a high likelihood for involvement of local people in tree or forest management for economic gain, as timber and fast-growing species were highly ranked. Food and medicinal species were also regarded as important, suggesting high prospects of integrating them into the local farming system or protecting them in the forest. Numerous cultural practices (including rituals, trenching, bark slashing, ring barking, spot weeding and use of organic manure and pesticides) of forest and tree system management were acknowledged. However, their knowledge was mixed and unclear about distinct cultural and supportive arrangements for natural forest and tree restoration. While gender was not a significant cultural attribute for knowledge of the forest and allied tree system management, age substantially affected farmer propensity for various timber products. Also farmer's family size influenced the collection of tree wildings and fodder. We encourage considering gender disparities and livelihood needs including income, during selection of cultural practices for forest and tree restoration.

Mots-clés : aménagement forestier; approches participatives; connaissance indigène; produit forestier non ligneux; plante médicinale; forêt protégée; protection de la forêt; ouganda

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