The National Forestry Authority (NFA) has this morning revealed the campaign to plant Ten Million (10.000.000) trees in bid to appreciate tax payers.
This corporate social responsibility information was revealed in a press conference held at the Uganda Media Center.
Speaking during to the media, Tom Obong Okello, NFA Executive Director said that the Biomass studies by the National Forestry Authority of 2015 identified massive deforestation as one of the most critical environmental crises facing Uganda citing that Uganda’s forest cover across the country tremendously declined from 24% (4,933,271 hectares (Ha)) of land area in the 1990 to less than the current 9% (1,956,664Ha) in 2018.
Obong also underscored how Uganda has lost about 3,000,000 hectors of forest cover in 25 years is very alarming. To reverse this loss by 2040, we need to restore at least 136,000 Ha annually. Forest loss has been driven by illegal logging to meet huge demands for timber, fuelwood, charcoal, carving, unsustainable agricultural practices, urbanization and unregulated livestock grazing.
“The high rate of deforestation has led to habitat loss and species extinction, and soil degradation resulting in poor crop yield. Deforestation is also contributing to climate change and causing excessive heat leading to disappearance of local streams, frequent weather and climatic changes leading to increased droughts (wild fire), interruptions of frequency and intensity of heavy rains resulting into floods and landslides in the highland areas. Body itching and rampant death of livestock in the cattle corridor during the dry seasons, changes in duration of dry and rainy season, which affect planting seasons.” He noted.
The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995, empowers Government to protect and preserve the environment from abuse, pollution and degradation; to manage the environment for sustainable development; and to promote environmental awareness as its fully detailed below.
- The National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2003 provides for tree planting and growing.
- The National development Plan II (2015 – 2020) sets a target of restoring the forest cover from 9% to 18% by the year 2020. For this to be achieved, concerted efforts of all stakeholders is required. Cabinet has already gazetted four National Tree Planting Days, i.e., 8th March, 1st May, 5th June and 12th August every year to coincide with International Women’s’ Day, Labour Day, World Environment Day and International Youth Day celebrations respectively.
- The main challenge in Uganda is to massively and progressively increase tree cover through tree planting and management of existing forests in a way that is sustainable, improves community livelihoods and supports income generation with the long-term vision of increased forest and tree cover and conserving the environment. This Corporate Social Responsibility program targets planting 10,000,000 trees (10,000 Hectares) annually to increase the forest and tree cover, protect degraded environment, help protect the habitat of endangered species and enhance livelihood of rural farmers.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
- The aim of this national massive tree planting initiative is to promote and increase forest and tree cover across Uganda, improve community livelihoods and conserve the environment through;
- Creating and promoting awareness of all Ugandans on the role of trees and forests in enhancing environmental sustainability and reversing the Uganda’s worrying levels of deforestation
- Demonstrating the role of trees and forestry in enhancing local community livelihoods and contributing to poverty reduction
iii. Increasing contribution and benefits of trees and forests to local, regional and national economic development
- Promoting participatory Corporate Social Responsibility to conservation, management and sustainable utilization of trees and forest resources by the tax payers.
METHODOLOGY OF IMPLEMENTATION OF MASSIVE TREE PLANTING
- The National Forestry Authority in partnership with Uganda Revenue Authority, Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Local Government using the Corporate Social Responsibility approach are providing the leadership and momentum for the planned massive (10,000,000) tree planting efforts across the country starting with the launch on 21st September 2018, at 6 regional centers, i.e. in Mabira Central Forest Reserve, Mbale Central Forest Reserve, Kasyoha Kitomi CFR, Northern and Kumbu CFR and Abera CFR. Tree planting in West Nile, northern and parts of Eastern will be differed to early next year due to climatic and rainfall pattern. People are encourage to visit our 32 tree seedling nurseries countrywide to access free seedlings for planting on private land.
SITES AND LOCATIONS FOR MASSIVE TREE PLANTING
- The tree planting will take place in Central Forest Reserves, within all District and Municipal Local Governments, all Sub Counties’ premises, schools and religious institutions and to involve wood carvers, carpenters, charcoal burners and dealers and the general public across the country.
OUTPUTS AND IMPACT
- Working with Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Institutions notably the Policy, Army, Prisons, schools and local community my Ministry strongly believe that we can achieve the target of planting 42 million trees each year to represent each person in Uganda. This will help Uganda reverse deforestation and increase forest cover to about 18% by 2020 and 24% by 2040. The country will then be able to control soil erosion, provide the requisite habitat to protect endangered species, provide fuel wood to the community, and eventually contribute to improved weather and climate.
CONCLUSION AND WAY FORWARD
- National Forestry Authority is determined to fulfill its mandate of sustainable environment management through promotion of tree planting and forest management across the country. In order to achieve this, NFA in collaboration with other Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Institutions and Development Partners will work together on the above activities. The goal is to promote forestry awareness and increase forest cover.
9. I request all Ugandans to support the need for massive tree planting and afforestation across the country to reverse deforestation in fulfilment of our National Development Plan II and international commitments such as the Bonn Challenge where Uganda committed to restoring 2,500,000 million hectares of forests and the Sustainable Development Goals. We strongly believe this approach will be an entry point for other partners to support approaches aimed at increasing the forest cover and meeting the Vision 2040 afforestation target.