Sub Saharan Africa is endowed with both indigenous knowledge systems as well as natural forest resources critical to supporting several forms of development. However, the region has experienced rapid growth in population and changes in demographic characteristics which may lead to a decline in these resources. Indigenous knowledge provides an alternative approach to conserving forest resources. To ascertain the relevance of this knowledge, the Lugbara community in Yumbe district, northern Uganda, was considered. Data were collected using questionnaires, key informant interviews, participatory GIS, and remote sensing. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics, thematic and content analysis, and a forest cover change matrix. The results indicated that indigenous knowledge was mostly used in the management of community forest resources, while modern formal approaches were used in managing public forests. The forest resources on communal lands were not sustainably managed despite the relatively high prevalence of indigenous knowledge. However, there was a resurrected interest in the use of indigenous knowledge since some forests managed using strict customary laws were among the most biologically diverse. The resurrected interest in this knowledge and the rich biodiversity in these forests implies that the knowledge is still relevant in the 21st century. It is recommended that indigenous knowledge practises be documented, promoted and integrated into modern formal approaches to achieve sustainable management of forest resources.
Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, Forest resources, Prevalence, Sustainable management.