In this case study, i highlight the progress of my project titled "Empowering the local community to protect an Endangered cycad (Encephalartos macrostrobilus) in Moyo district, Uganda". This project commenced in February 2018 with a half day launch. Thereafter, a thorough population survey was conducted in May 2018. This survey led to documentation of 181 mature individuals with a sex ratio of 2:5, female:male (or 28.6% female). All these individuals have been georeferenced and a specimen deposited at the Makerere University Herbarium for the first time. During the survey, we firmly established that the land housing the cycad is community land with no form of protection. This area is used for stone quarrying, cattle grazing, firewood and timber collection. In fact, it is criss-crossed by trails which can be mistaken for tourist trails. During the survey, three other Threatened plant species were encontered in this community land namely Dalbergia melanoxylon, Afzelia africana and Vitellaria paradoxa. Infact, the government of Uganda issued a ban on trade in timber and products of Afzelia africana and Vitellaria paradoxa. Through this project, we have been able to raise the conservation significance of this area to Moyo district local government through the Environment Officer. It is our hope that a win-win scenario for the community and conservation shall be found for this site. We have also carried out sensitization of the adjacent communities on the conservation of E. macrostrobilus and its habitat (including the other Threatened species). Seed a vailability has been a major challenge given the small population of females and persistent destruction of cones by baboons. However, we have been able to raise 21 seedlings from the little seed collected. Going forward, a team of local residents led by Mzee Ewoko Angelico has been identified to periodically monitor the female colonies of E. macrostrobilus for seed availability. Inadditon, the project has generated a manuscript titled poulation size, sex ratio and their implications on conservation status of Encephalarytos macrostrobilus (Scott Jones and Jeff Wynants) in Uganda to the Encephalartos Journal for publication. Again, there is nned to consolidate the gains in this project by conducting additional surveys in areas suspected to have cycads, prioiritize seedling multiplication and habitat protection through engaging the community. There is also need for a win-win solution for communities and conservation in this site.
Project 172516737 location - Uganda, Africa