Collaboration or Contravention? Ramifications For Effective Participatory Decision-Making in Collaborative Forest Management at Echuya Central Forest Reserve, South Western Uganda

  • Medard Twinamatsiko, PhD Mbarara University of Science and Technology
  • Stephen Gumisiriza Bugabo Mbarara University of Science and Technology
Keywords: Participatory Decision Making, Collaborative Forest Management, Environment, Forest Resources
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Participatory decision-making has been extensively adopted worldwide as an essential mechanism and a good governance principle to reach a consensus in natural resource management. However, in most communities, local people who depend on forests are not involved in the decision-making process regarding conserving protected areas. This research assesses the ramifications of collaboration or contravention on effective participatory decision-making in collaborative forest management in Echuya Central Forest Reserve. It provides insights into how community consultations and participation of forest-adjacent communities in planning meetings influence the conservation of protected areas. We collected data from a total of 639 respondents, including Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) group members and non-CFM community members, government institutions, conservation organizations, and local community leaders, using semi-structured questionnaires, interview guides, and Focus Group Discussion guides. Results indicate that community consultations allow CFM stakeholders, particularly community members, to give ideas on how such projects can be implemented without destroying forest resources, promoting the goal of conserving the forest reserve. Community members’ participation in planning meetings allows them to contribute ideas about relevant and appropriate forest conservation approaches. However, the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and other non-community actor groups dominate the decision-making process mainly because the NFA has the legal mandate to manage the forest reserve on behalf of the Government. We concluded that the connivance of government forestry officials with unauthorized forest resource users undermines the spirit of participatory decision-making. Dishonesty and lack of accountability hampered effective participatory decision-making, and low attendance at meetings undermines effective participation in decision-making. Thus, community members’ consistent attendance of meetings is paramount for positive outcomes of participatory decision-making for the conservation of forests


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3 May, 2024
How to Cite
Twinamatsiko, M., & Bugabo, S. (2024). Collaboration or Contravention? Ramifications For Effective Participatory Decision-Making in Collaborative Forest Management at Echuya Central Forest Reserve, South Western Uganda. East African Journal of Forestry and Agroforestry, 7(1), 175-187.