Thursday, October 29, 2015

When economics drives the land use change

In my last trip to Uganda, we did a transect drive through Hoima district, in search of the major land dynamics and see if we can make sense of potential up-coming changes. We found three very interesting land ownership that may result in more land conflicts in the upcoming years.

The hills 

The hills are owned by the king and are to be kept as forest. Up until today the king is respected and the hills are still covered with forest. These forest play an important ecosystem function, namely for water infiltration, making sure that ground water recharges during rains and limits erorsion.

The forested hills owned by the king
During the participatory GIS it was unclear if the power of the king could maintained and therefore the forest maintained, or if with population growth the forest could be encroached.

The up-coming airport and oil industry 

In a post from my second last trip i discussed the benefits of having oil companies coming to the area. However, in this trip we came across the downside of it.
A sign claiming land rights for the local population
Smallholders have been asked to evacuate their land, for giving space to the up-coming airport and the buildings needed for the oil industry. Whereas smallholders with land rights have been compensated, there is a debate on if they have been compensated fairly and as the sign suggest on the image above, some people are not ready to leave their land...

Commercial timber production 

Forest used to be public goods, and people could make use of them, and therefore overused them. Many grazing land, former forest land, has been given to investors for timber production.
commercial forest
The forest is now back, and so the water infiltration and erosion prevention function restored, however the forest diversity is much lower, and therefore less suitable for some threatened species.
Also, poor people in the area have lost access to their cheap (free) building material as now they have to buy wood from the timber company. This is hampering development of poor household into more intensified pig keeping.

Land use is dynamic, change will happen, and there will be winners and losers. Making our ex-ante environmental assessment model spatially explicit, will allow to identify the winners and the losers, discuss trade offs and hopefully find win-win situation in an area that will inevitably change in the up-coming years.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Catherine,
    Very interesting tool you are developing! I am interested to keep in touch on it as I see possibilities for the tool in NL as well! Maaike