In February 2022, Environmental Defenders starded an Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation Baseline Survey with the main objective of understanding and documenting the prevailing conditions of communities living adjacent to Luli Kayonga Forest Reserve and those living at the shore of the Dei Landing site in Pakwach district. Environmental Defenders will use the study’s findings to develop and carry out initiatives and programmes that safeguard forests and the Lake Albert Biodiversity and improve livelihoods in the study areas where smallholder agriculture is linked to the loss of forests and biodiversity.
The study addresses gender equity and identifies opportunities, solutions, and restoration potential with specific suggestions for the forestry, fisheries and agriculture sectors. In this regard, options are analysed to ensure the success of forest landscape restoration projects through collective management, co-participation of public actors in non-governmental projects, where agroforestry, woodlots establishment, natural tree regeneration can be promoted. While in the area of fisheries, the need to reinforce the role of fishermen’s groups/associations and to urge cooperation between them, the Landing Sites Committees and the local government of Dei to improve the management of fish resources on Lake Albert is reiterated. In the agricultural sector, strategies are prioritised based on the mitigation of the effects of climate change, which is manifesting itself in a great variability of rainfall and the impoverishment of soil quality due to longer periods of drought. The impossibility of implementing large irrigation projects is declared, in particular due to the legal implications in the use of water from the lake.