Experts have warned that if Ugandans are to turn a blind eye as Bugoma forest is being destroyed, they will pay a huge price in years to come.
According to a report by Dr Mark Chernaik and staff scientists under the US’ Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), Bugoma forest won’t go alone. It will be followed by rivers and streams will also dry up. Lake Albert, currently the pride of Bunyoro Kingdom and a limitless source of fish as well as water will turn into red a filthy pond. The milk and honey flowing today will also disappear, ground will become bare and starvation will take a toll on the human population.
These are some of the hostilities Hoima city and the surrounding communities risk as a result of the destruction of the environment, including Bugoma forest.
The air breathed in will become polluted air and the disease burden will become overwhelming. This is when the Banyoro will cursing their ancestors for failing to protect Bugoma. This is a prediction that could become true a few years from now (2030) if forests including Bugoma forest are not protected.
Meanwhile the effects won’t affect humans alone but wildlife too. Bugoma is home to an estimated 600 chimps. The chimps are also endangered; they face extinction if encroachment on their habitat continues. Bugoma is also home to the Uganda Mangabey, which is an endemic species. This monkey is found in few other places globally.
The other habitat where it is found is Mabira Forest in central Uganda. Bugoma is also home to a rare bird species, the Nahan’s Frankolin, which are similar in size tochicken and nest in the buttresses of large trees.
The African grey parrots, which are also threatened by extinction are residents of Bugoma, also a migratory corridor for big mammals like elephants. Initially made of woodlands, Bugoma is now made of trees, including combretums, which are as old as 70 years.
Bugoma was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932.