An ethical investigation into the causes and effects of the over-exploitation of indigenous trees in Mulilima and Ndabala wards in Serenje
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This dissertation has conducted an ethical investigation into the causes and effects of the over-exploitation of indigenous trees in Mulilima and Ndabala wards in Serenje. The specific objectives of the research as relating to Mulilima and Ndabala wards were: to determine the types and values of indigenous trees that are over-exploited, to establish the people responsible for the over-exploitation of indigenous trees, to examine the environmental and human impacts of the over-exploitation of indigenous trees, and to recommend measures to ensure the sustainable use of indigenous trees. The methodology used for the research was qualitative involving an ethical evaluation. The primary data were collected from observations, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with relevant selected sfekeholders. The secondary data involved information gathered from relevant books, magazines, journals and newspapers as well as from the internet. The analysis of data collected took the form of critical discussion and ethical evaluation. The data collected for this research has been evaluated using both traditional and environmental ethical theories i.e.. Value theory. Utilitarianism, the Land Ethic, Social Ecology and. Environmental and Intergenerational Justice theories, all of which helped to focus on different aspects of the problem.The research findings were that the Mutondo and Musamba tree species are the most exploited. This excessive exploitation of such indigenous trees is perpetuated mainly by charcoal burners and tobacco farmers together with different stakeholders, and it is driven by social and economic conditions. Currently, the area around the two wards is now facing a serious shortage of the Mutondo and Musamba trees threatening the sustainability of both the charcoal and tobacco industry as well as the livelihood of the local inhabitants. Caterpillars and some animals are now almost extinct while some streams are also affected.The ethical evaluation of the over-exploitation of the indigenous trees in the two wards revealed that people's interaction with the natural enviroimient is largely influenced by anthropocentric attitudes in which instrumental value alone is attached to trees to the neglect of intrinsic and inherent values. Furthermore, there is no explicit awareness of the importance of the health of the ecosystem. Unjust social structures have also contributed to the problem. The loss of valuable trees in the area is not only an environmental injustice to the present generation without providing substitutes. It is also creating victims who would be disadvantaged in the future. The final ethical conclusion has been that all of the ethical theories help towards making a more comprehensive ethical analysis of the problem, and all these perspectives need to be taken into consideration.It is recommended that the various stakeholders participate in establishing and implementing appropriate measures that would create conducive social, economic, and environmental conditions for the sustainable exploitation of indigenous trees. This may iavolve strengthening the capacities in the local inhabitants, revisiting the regulations, empowering the forest department, forging networks with relevant stakeholders, and exploring alternative energy sources.