Resource Details

Parks as a mechanism to maintain and facilitate recovery of forest cover: examining reforestation, forest maintenance and productivity in Uganda

Literature: Books or Book Chapters

Hartter, J., Southworth, J. & Binford, M. 2010, "Parks as a mechanism to maintain and facilitate recovery of forest cover: examining reforestation, forest maintenance and productivity in Uganda in reforesting landscapes:linking pattern and process, eds. H. Nagendra & Southworth, J, Springer Nertherlands, pp. 275-296.

Contact Info

Joel Hartter,


  • University of New Hampshire, Department of Geography, USA


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  • This study highlights the use of parks conceptually as a tool for restoration and forest maintenance-with Kibale National Park in Uganda as the case study. In addition, methodological approaches and limitations with current techniques to study land cover change are assessed.
  • Landcover analyses was conducted to determine the extent and spatial distribution of temporal forest change and to provide an initial analysis of forest cover change both within and around the park.
  • The results showed increase in forest cover and forests as the dominant land cover type with over 79% being in stable forest cover. Also, since 1984, there has been only 4% area deforestated, in contrast with over 11% reforested. In contrast to the surrounding landscape outside the park where there is less than 10% land in stable forest cover.
  • The majority of Kibale’s forest has remained intact, with only a small proportion lost to deforestation in 20 years in contrast to what has happened in the landscape surrounding the park. Which is attributed to the park success on decreasing illegal activities. Also supported by these research findings is large-scale encroachment into park has virtually halted since formal park establishment in 1993 and boundaries are well understood and maintained.
  • On the other hand forest productivity and health has decreased overtime both within the park and in the forest fragments outside the park. Local communities attribute the latter to use of fragments and for the park where forest maintenance and regrowth dominates this observation is puzzling and disturbing.
  • The authors concur that parks offer one mechanism for forest maintenance and recovery. Within the park’s boundaries forest protection and reforestation efforts have been quite successful compared to the high rates of deforestation outside the park. Despite the success of Kibale Park in maintaining forest cover, forests in the surrounding area outside the park are under intense resource extraction and the remaining forest fragments are in jeopardy of degradation.

Geographical Region

  • East Africa
  • Country

  • Uganda
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