A 4 year NUFFIC sandwich scholarship was granted to Christina Ampumuza from Uganda, a former MLE student, who follows up previous research undertaken in Bwindi National Park in Uganda. Christine's PhD project is entitled: Gorillascapes: Re-negotiating conservation, tourism and rural development at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, S.W. Uganda.
Summary of the project
This research will actively engage in the ongoing discussions on the development projects in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The history of conflict of land and other resources in and around this bounded territory in South Western Uganda is as old as the history of human settlement in this part of the country. However, the quest to turn Uganda into a middle-income country by 2040, targeting natural endowments (fertile soils, minerals and biodiversity), characteristic of Bwindi, has produced ‘new’ configurations that go beyond the dominating focus on gorilla tourism. This warrants further investigations in order to understand the socio-economic, political and ecological dimensions of the competing claims on the Bwindi landscape. Currently, the conflicts go beyond traditional park-community conflicts over forest access and use to complex, multi-layered, multi-scale networks of markets, development agendas and general global affluence exemplified by the quest for expansion of tea farms, mining, roads and the establishment of new tourism infrastructure. Amidst this background, the researcher will not only examine these competing claims, but also will collect data on the negotiation processes by participating in the ongoing planning and review processes and provide scientific input to be used to design scenarios and policy options.