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Comparison of the economic and social benefits of central forest reserves and oil palm plantations in Kalangala

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Authors: Moses Masiga, Sharon Anena and Godfrey Nviri

Uganda - 2018

Language: English

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This paper presents a comparative assessment of total economic values from central forest reserves and those from oil palm production. It includes short, medium and long term land use considerations to assess how to improve the integration of forest management, commercial agriculture and other non-forestry industrial land uses. Findings show that the actual projected annual value from oil palm plantations in Kalangala is 186 billion Ugandan Shillings (UGX) (US$52 million) of which 73% was captured through revenues from nucleus estates and 27% through outgrowers. However, this total was only 11% of the total economic value held in the central forest reserves, estimated at UGX 1,673 billion (US$465 million) per annum. However, of this, only UGX 2.3 billion (US$640,000) is captured from sales of timber each year. The rest is made up of derived values such as pollination, wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services, and carbon stock values priced under REDD+ but which is not yet operational. And most of the standing stock of timber must be maintained, though communities would benefit more if the annual harvesting quota was increased. Tourism values are a realistic value, however, noting the growth of this sector and its integration through ongoing engagement. But in short to medium terms, economic benefits from oil palm in Kalangala district greatly outweigh those from the central forest reserve. The key recommendation is to establish optimal land use plans that factor in land use before and after integration of oil palm, including a considered business model that increases direct economic benefits from forest reserves.  

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