Stuart Maniraguha, the Budongo Range Manager, said the issue of illegal lumbering involves both residents and community members. He explains that CFM group leaders often over step their mandate by taking unlawful decisions.
The National Forestry Authority NFA has signed a collaborative management agreement with the Mpanga Community Conservation and Development Association to jointly conserve and protect Mpanga forest reserve in Hoima district.
Francis Atugonza was arrested by a joint force of National Forestry Authority, police and Uganda Peoples Defense Forces. He was arrested together with two others; Rogers Muhwezi and Mustafa Kasaija with whom they claimed ownership of Rwembuno block.
The accusations come two months after a court order issued by Julia Acio, the Assistant Registrar at Masindi High Court to maintain the status quo on the ownership of the 22 square kilometer land, pending the outcome of the main application filed by NFA challenging the land title.
Albertine Regional Police Public Relations Officer Julius Hakiza says the arrested individuals are members of a veterans association claiming to have been given part of the forest reserve by President Yoweri Museveni. The veterans have been locked up in a boundary dispute with NFA for over five years.
The Kisindi Sector Manager, Stewart Maniraguha, says Grevillea is good for agro-forestry, since the trees can be intercropped with other agricultural crops and are more environmental friendly.But the beneficiaries appeared divided on the tree species, given the longer 15 year maturity period.
Under the arrangement, communities sign agreements with NFA to jointly manage forest reserves. The communities are allowed to undertake activities that do not harm the existence of forests. These include tree planting and bee keeping among others.
Private foresters in Bunyoro are taking precaution to guard their forests against fires this dry season. Forest fires have been a problem during the dry season affecting some private foresters and the National Forestry Authority (NFA).
The current conflict between Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and forestry officials in Hoima district has been brought to the attention of the National Forestry Authority-NFA Executive Director, Michael Mugisa.
A decision by Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom to begin impounding illegal timber in the region has been rebuked by National Forestry Authority as unlawful. NFA Kisindi sector Manager Robert Owinyi says that the mandate to impound timber and other illegal forestry produce only lies with them and the district forestry services.