The Migration-Environment Nexus: The Situation in Northwest Uganda
In the last four decades, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have seen much transboundary human migration, largely forced movement due to conflict and political unrest. In 1980 Uganda generated hundreds of thousands of refugees into Sudan and DRC, virtually all of whom had returned by 1988. Since then the country has been on the receiving end, welcoming Sudanese refugees in the mid-1990s, over one million South Sudanese since 2013, and many Congolese over the years. The migration-environment nexus of greatest concern today involves the South Sudanese refugees, about 90% of whom now live in what was until their arrival a mosaic of grassland, woody savannah, open and closed woodland, and forest. They have cleared vast expanses of the land for homesteads and cultivation, and their very survival hinges on their ability to utilize trees for firewood, construction, fruit and other non-timber products. For water, they depend on boreholes and rivers, the sustainability of which also relies on healthy tree cover. The pressure on the environment is immense. Trees have vanished in many areas, with severe consequences for now and the future.