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Too much conservation?
Bagandan Ngoma drum
Drums of Buganda -  Ngoma drum

The focus in recent years, albeit a gesture too late argued by some, has been to strike a balance between the resources humans truly need and the negative impact on the planet while acquiring those resources. While greater mainstream attention is being placed on our environment and how we can reduce, reuse, and recycle it may only be lip service, until now.

At some point in grade school we have all heard about saving the rain forest, the vast lands cut down at a ferocious pace in an effort to harvest the lumber, farm, etc. The latest effort in order to curb the devastation and destruction has made cutting down specific trees on private property a criminal offense. Any action is better than inaction considering that Uganda alone loses roughly 210,000 acres of trees annually.

How does this involve drums, drumming, music, percussion, or that terrible Rock Band game?! Trees used to make Buganda's (located in the south-central region of Uganda) royal drums can no longer be legally harvested.

Recently passed laws prevent harvesting of trees on private land. While this prevents the sale of large tracts of land for the sole purpose of clear cutting the trees it also prevents harvesting of trees by woodcarvers. Paul Kyuma Mukwaya, a maker of royal drums, as quoted in The East African - "We are not allowed to cut down trees in private forests without permission from the authorities. Why should I not be allowed to cut a tree I planted on my farm?"

From 1971 to 1987 Uganda lost 50 percent of its forests and between 1990 and 2005 lost over 26 percent of its remaining forest cover. Deforestation continues today at a rate of 2.2 percent (mongabay.com). Drum making among the Baganda uses four types of hard and strong wood: omukebu (Cordia Africana), enoongo (Albizia), akabalira (Ficus mucuso) and omugavu (Albizia coriaria). Trees that are quick to mature are now being used but are not of the same quality as the original sources.


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