Threats to Uganda’s Biodiversity

Uganda is one of the most species rich countries in Africa due to presence of several major biomes. It has also lost much of its natural habitat to agriculture. The country is estimated to have lost about 50% of its biodiversity value between 1975 and 1995 due to hunting and loss of forest, savannah, and wetland habitat to agriculture (Pomeroy, Tushabe, & Loh, 2017; Plumptre et al. 2018).

Uganda is developing rapidly as a nation and with this, actively encouraging mineral exploitation, oil and gas development, as well as expanding its power generation, industries, and road networks. As so often is the case, national infrastructure development generally results in widespread impacts on natural habitat.

While the effect of development is certainly damaging on species and ecosystems, a much greater threat remains in the fact that Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, which continues to increase rapidly each year.

There has been widespread loss of biodiversity and natural habitat over the years, as human population expanded from about 5 million in … to 35 million people in 2019. As the human population continues to grow, available land remains the same, creating a disparate ratio of resources for livelihood.

Uganda’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for 2015-2025 identifies threats to biodiversity as including

  • habitat loss
  • agricultural encroachment and expansion
  • climate change effects
  • over-harvesting of resources
  • diseases
  • pollution
  • introduction of alien species
  • demographic factors
  • poverty and

national policies, among others. The threats are exacerbated by inadequate funding and low budget allocations for environment and natural resource management, and climate change adaptation interventions.

Threats

While it is true that Uganda is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet and the second most biodiverse country on the African continent, the quest for economic development, along with population growth, places significant pressures on the country’s species and ecosystems. Over the last century, Uganda’s forest cover declined by more than 75%. In 2012, fish exports dropped to 26, 574 tons from 32.855 tons in 2006 – so did the revenue from USD136.8million to USD56.8 million. Deforestation and land degradation are estimated to have cost Uganda 17% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). (who are we referencing here? Pliz include the reference since this is not our own data / information).