Title: A review of institutional frameworks for conservation of the shea nut tree in Uganda

Author(s): Joan Angom Atalla
Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Sjofn Vilhelmsdottir
shea nut tree, conservation, framework, Uganda


Throughout the shea belt of Africa, the shea nut tree continues to be exploited for charcoal production despite its ‘vulnerable’ status. Charcoal represents a significant portion of the domestic energy consumption in sub-Saharan Africa; as human population increases throughout the continent, demand for fuel is expected to soar placing an exceedingly greater burden upon tree resources preferred by the charcoal industry. In Uganda, charcoal and fuelwood account for 92% of the national energy demand. Uganda’s annual energy consumption growth rate of 6% is expected to double by 2025 (MEM 2007), meanwhile the country’s charcoal industry remains largely unregulated. The main purpose of this study was to review the institutional framework for the conservation of the shea nut tree in Uganda. The study consisted of a desk study reviewing literature on the decentralisation of environmental governance and policy in Uganda, and of a questionnaire administrated to district environmental officers (DEOs) in Uganda. The DEOs were asked to assess effectiveness of the institutional framework for natural resource management in supporting the conservation of the shea nut tree, as well as to respond to the question of whether the institutional framework can be enhanced to improve applied approaches for the conservation of shea nut tree. The study’s results highlighted the need for a national policy with a clear implementation strategy to guide regional and national interventions to conserve the shea nut tree. It also identified the need for ministerial collaboration towards the regulation of Uganda’s charcoal trade. Further, the study revealed gaps and overlaps existing within the environmental resources management institutional framework that need to be addressed. Finally, it acknowledged the existence of tensions between political and technical heads in many local governments in Uganda, and the tension has affected the functionality of many district local governments in conservation of the shea nut tree.

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