Regulators ignoring tree-cutting
Posted Friday, March 22 2013 at 02:00
The NFA boss says despite learning of the problems, nothing is being done.
Weak policies against tree-cutting and land ownership are the key factors causing rampant deforestation in Uganda, officials have said.
Speaking at the commemoration of the International Day of Forests at Makerere University yesterday, the executive director of the National Forestry Authority (NFA), Mr Michael Mugisa, said regulators have ignored the problem.
Mr Mugisa said this year’s celebrations were aimed at supporting commercial tree planting, which had taken root, but had not been widely adopted, especially by land owners.
“Most of the forest cover destroyed is natural but if land owners embraced the idea of planting their own forests, then we would have little problems,” he said.
A 2011 report by NFA estimates that more than 90,000 hectares of forest cover per year was lost, primarily to agricultural farming, logging, and the fuel demand.
Uganda’s forest cover has dropped from 4.9 million hectares in 1990 to 3.6 million in 2005, representing a 1.9 per cent deforestation rate.
Deforestation, he said is largely happening because government is focused on publicly managed forests and consistently ignoring the private forest areas, which millions of Ugandans live and depend on.
Under the theme ‘Save a tree, Save a future’, the day was commemorated with tree planting activities at Mulago National Referral Hospital and a public dialogue on forestry governance at the university.
There are no specific seasons when forests are mostly slashed but the 2009 National Biomass study, currently being updated, shows a direct link between loss of forest cover and an increase in change of land usage over the last 15 years.
A two per cent increase in deforestation rates means the country risks losing all its forest cover by the year 2040.