So, why should we protect Key Biodiversity Areas?
According to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Uganda (2015 – 2025), services and products provided by ecosystems and species per year to Uganda’s economy constitute billions of shillings. Ecosystems provide many essential services such as provision of clean water and air, prevention of soil erosion, pollination of crops, provision of medicinal plants, nutrient cycling, provision of food and shelter and meeting of spiritual, cultural, aesthetic and recreational needs. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on biodiversity including fisheries, tourism, livestock, commercial and subsistence use of medicinal plants, among others. The continued loss and degradation of Uganda’s biodiversity therefore present a serious challenge to society, and the national economy generally.
In addition to direct gains in government revenues, biodiversity resources also support some of the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of Uganda’s population. The diversity of resources provides them with choice and fall back in times of drought, unemployment or other times of stress.
There is limited data on biodiversity valuation in Uganda, but past estimates have put gross economic output attributable to biological resource use in the fisheries, forestry, tourism, agriculture and energy sectors at US$ 546.6 million a year and indirect value associated with ecosystem services and functions at over US$ 200 million annually (Emerton and Muramira, 1999).