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Uganda - 13 April, 2023
Uganda’s Buvuma island, located in Lake Victoria, used to be heavily forested. Between 2000 and 2005, however, the island witnessed rapid land use changes, leaving less than 3% of the area forested.
This was primarily caused by the influx of migrants from other parts of the country. Most of these migrants had been evicted by the government, as they had been illegally occupying state forest reserves. Arriving on Buvuma island, they cleared the forest, sold the timber, and established farms.
On top of these developments, the government has now allocated half of the island for commercial oil palm production. If these plans materialize, land available for food production will become scarce, and thousands of farmers will have to look for new lands to cultivate, with potentially devastating effects on the remaining natural forest, both on the island and elsewhere in the country.