Mechanisms of land -cover change in Uganda: Longer-term analyses of the role of institutional arrangements
Investigations in this portfolio of manuscripts broadly advance understanding of how institutional arrangements influence impacts of population growth and integration into non-local markets on forest and tree-cover change. This research integrates methods of the natural and social sciences including remote sensing, geographical information systems, vegetation plot analysis, key informant interviews, and archival research. In combination, these methods are applied for longer-term analyses of the role of institutional arrangements in land-cover change in West Mengo, Uganda.
Over the past fifty years, tree cover on settled areas (cultivated and grazed lands and home-gardens) in West Mengo has increased while forest cover (particularly outside of state reserves) is more diffuse. One finding is that the underlying, traditional sociopolitical structure in West Mengo does facilitate, on aggregate, customary arrangements in identifying diverse strategies to maintain the flow of forest products and benefits under growing population and market pressures (avoiding local tragedies). But, these customary arrangements may or may not be able to maintain ecosystem services (produced from large-scale forest patches) outside of the local sociopolitical unit under these conditions.
Boundaries of state forest reserves in West Mengo were found to have remained stable for over fifty years despite population and market pressures. Another finding is that formal state arrangements can, but don't always, stem deforestation under conditions of high population and market pressures. When design principles for robust, large-scale commons are adopted in the process of creating adaptive arrangements for governance of large extents of working forests that the arrangements and desired outcomes (e.g., stable forest cover and flow of subsistence products in the West Mengo case) may endure over the long term. And, when not adopted, you may find a relatively fast breakdown in the institutional arrangement resulting in unintended outcomes for some or all stakeholders (e.g., forest degradation and loss for foresters in the Kikuyu case).
0799: Remote sensing
0617: Public administration