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Forest edges in western Uganda: From refuge for the poor to zone of investment

L'Roe, Jessica and Lisa Naughton-Treves

Forest Policy and Economics, 2017, vol. 84, issue C, 102-111

Abstract: Western Uganda is home to growing populations of smallholder agriculturalists, expanding commodity plantations, and protected forests. In this setting, we document a shift in who uses forest edge land and how it is used. In developing countries, protected forest edges are traditionally sites where marginalized people can subsist, but increasing land competition has the potential to change this scenario. We used longitudinal field data spanning two decades to characterize the evolution of landownership and land use neighboring Kibale National Park. The number of households has more than doubled since 1993. Land values are rising, and people buying land near the park in recent years are significantly wealthier and have more off-farm income than those who acquired land there in earlier periods. The reverse is true of renters. More people are growing inedible perennial cash crops like eucalyptus, tea, and coffee, especially those with larger amounts of land and capital. Some long-term residents are prospering, while others are squeezed onto ever smaller pieces of land and opting for precarious rental arrangements as land competition increases. We discuss the implications of this transitioning park neighborhood, both for conservation and local livelihoods.

Keywords: Land competition; Land use change; Land values; Commodity crops; Protected area; East Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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