Forest governance reforms are expected to bring an optimal solution to sustainable forest management challenges. This study was conducted to assess the perception and attitude toward forest governance reforms and their implication to local communities living adjacent Biharamulo forest reserve, in Kagera and Geita regions. The objectives of the study were to examine the local communities’ awareness toward forest governance reforms; to analyse factors which influence local communities’ perception and attitude towards forest governance reforms, and to assess the effects of forest governance reforms on local communities’ livelihood. Data and information were collected using in depth-interview, focus group discussion and questionnaire with 162 households surrounding Biharamulo forest reserve as target population. Content analysis was used to analyse data obtained through key informants interviews and Focus Group Discussions. Quantitative data were analysed through descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression.
The findings indicate that, on average, majority of respondents (77.6%) were aware about the reforms in forest governance and uphold supportive perception and attitude. Results showed significant influence of socio-economic activities, age, and means of acquiring information about the forest reserve, education level, forest status and communities’ dependence on forest for subsistence.
The positive perception and positive attitude of local communities toward forest governance reforms claimed by many respondents align with their perceived benefits and values from forest resources. Contrastingly, however, some respondents were dissatisfied by the strict measures imposed on access to and control over forest resources. Forest governance reforms, on the one hand, have strengthened enforcement of regulations and rules of forest conservation and increase in government revenues. On the other hand, reforms have fomented the mistrust between the local communities and district forest officers. Local communities claim that increased number of patrols and forest surveillance inside the forest reserve are meant to deny their right to access the forest products which are important for their livelihood. Due to this, some respondents (5.5%) were unhappy and unsupportive of the reforms, because they claim that the reforms largely entail maximizing government revenues whilst disregarding provision of the much needed forest products for community use.
The study has shown how local communities play a key role in strengthening measures in forest conservation and management. Thus, local communities’ perception and attitude need to be integrated in forest management issues, even though some respondents were not sure about the exact status of forest officers lest they are impostors. The study recommends the government and other conservation actors has to ensure there is active user participation in addition to strong law enforcement and conservation education in shaping people’s behavior on forest conservation.
SSA, R (2021). Perception And Attitude Towards Forest Governance Reforms And Their Implication To Local Communities: A Case Of Biharamulo Forest Reserve. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/perception-and-attitude-towards-forest-governance-reforms-and-their-implication-to-local-communities-a-case-of-biharamulo-forest-reserve
Research, SSA. "Perception And Attitude Towards Forest Governance Reforms And Their Implication To Local Communities: A Case Of Biharamulo Forest Reserve" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 26 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/perception-and-attitude-towards-forest-governance-reforms-and-their-implication-to-local-communities-a-case-of-biharamulo-forest-reserve . Accessed 13 May. 2021.
Research, SSA. "Perception And Attitude Towards Forest Governance Reforms And Their Implication To Local Communities: A Case Of Biharamulo Forest Reserve". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 26 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/perception-and-attitude-towards-forest-governance-reforms-and-their-implication-to-local-communities-a-case-of-biharamulo-forest-reserve >.
Research, SSA. "Perception And Attitude Towards Forest Governance Reforms And Their Implication To Local Communities: A Case Of Biharamulo Forest Reserve" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 13, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/perception-and-attitude-towards-forest-governance-reforms-and-their-implication-to-local-communities-a-case-of-biharamulo-forest-reserve