Title Community Forest Monitoring and Awareness of Forest Use Rules in Uganda
Post date 10/20/2017
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

Deforestation is an important contributor to world-wide greenhouse gas emissions: it is estimated that deforestation is responsible for 12% of anthropogenic carbon emissions (van der Werf et al., 2009). As such, reducing deforestation is considered one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing carbon emissions (Stern, 2006). Although the majority of the world’s forest area is administered by governments, a small but growing proportion of forest area is officially designated to be managed by Indigenous People and local communities. In the continent of Africa in particular, the share of forest area that is officially designated as such has increased from 3.9 per cent in 2002 to 5.8 per cent in 2013. These estimates do not include any formally government administered forest area that is de facto managed by local communities or Indigenous People because of weaknesses in enforcement of government legislation. The appeal of community forest management appears widespread, with “nearly every country in the world […] experimenting with some form of ‘Community Forestry’” (Edmonds, 2002). At the international level, the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) aims to avoid deforestation. Communities are envisioned to contribute to measurement of carbon stocks embodied in forests as required by REDD+ Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) (Government of Uganda, 2011; Kenya Forest Serivce, 2010). Deforestation is an important problem in Uganda, with some coining the deforestation rate in Uganda as the “highest in East Africa” (Banana, Bukenya, Arinaitwe, Birabwa, & Ssekindi, 2012). According to data from Global Forest Watch, 38 per cent of the land area in Uganda is covered by forest, and Ugandan forests are under a high risk of deforestation. The annual deforestation rate in Uganda amounted to 5.7% between 2001 and 2014. Deforestation and land use change contribute 37.6 percent to Uganda’s Greenhouse Gas emissions in 2011 (FAO data). Communities in Uganda play an important role both in forest management as well as in deforestation. Communities can (co)manage forests that are collectively privately owned, that are registered as community forests, or that are covered by a Collaborative Forest Management agreement (Government of Uganda, 2003). Correspondingly, one of Uganda’s National Forestry policy objectives linked to REDD+ is to “promote innovative approaches to community participation in forest management”. However, communities also engage in charcoal production, firewood harvesting, and livestock grazing, which are three out of the seven main drivers of deforestation as identified by Uganda’s REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal (Government of Uganda, 2011). The Ugandan REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal furthermore envisions that communities could be involved in forest monitoring under REDD+ MRV. It recognizes that communities, with support from NGOs have contributed to high-quality monitoring systems in other countries, such as Nepal. At the same time, it acknowledges that “community monitoring capacity is still relatively weak” (Government of Uganda, 2011).

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

H1. Community monitoring increases forest stock
H2. Community monitoring decreases forest use
H3. Community monitoring affects household welfare (two-sided)
H4. Community monitoring increases satisfaction with the state of the forest
H5. Community monitoring increases knowledge about the state of the forest
H6. Community monitoring increases the sense of stewardship over the forest
H7. Community monitoring decreases uncertainty about the state of the forest and about forest use
H8. Community monitoring increases participation in forest governing bodies
H9. Community monitoring increases likelihood of sanctioning for violating forest use rules
H10. Higher awareness of forest use rules decreases forest use
H11. Higher awareness of forest use rules affects household welfare (two-sided)
H12. Higher awareness of forest use rules increases knowledge of forest use rules
H13. Higher awareness of forest use rules increases scrutiny of other forest users
H14. Higher awareness of forest use rules increases the perceived likelihood of sanctioning for violating forest use rules
H15. Higher awareness of forest use rules decreases household rating of their own forest conservation practices
H16. Higher awareness of forest use rules changes satisfaction with forest use rules.
H17. Higher awareness of forest use rules increases participation in forest governance bodies.

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

Randomized Controlled Trial

C4 Country Uganda
C5 Scale (# of Units) 110 villages, 1100 households at baseline, 1200 households at endline
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? Yes
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? Yes
C8 IRB Number SS4331 - Uganda Council for Science and Technology
C9 Date of IRB Approval 26/09/2017
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (Ecotrust)
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? not provided by authors
C13 JEL Classification(s) Q23