The National Forest Authority (NFA)of Uganda is worried about the recurrent replacement of natural forests with eucalyptus and pine trees in many parts of the country including wetlands. Tom Okello Obong, the Executive Director of NFA says their assessment has established a growing habit of people destroying the indigenous tree species for commercial eucalyptus and pines which have a grave impact to climate
Okello has indicated that in some areas, people have reached the extent of planting the eucalyptus in gazetted forest reserves, which he says is an aberration to natural forests protection guidelines.
In some instances, NFA has issued permits to private individuals to operate from forest reserves with environment-friendly activities.
Reports at NFA indicate that Uganda’s forest cover has tremendously decreased from 24 percent (4,933,271 hectares) of land area in the 1990 to less than the current 9 (1,956,664 hectares) percent in 2018.
However, Okello has indicated that they recently launched a nationwide tree planting campaign, in which they intend to plant 10 million new trees in a bid to restore the country’s lost forest cover.
According to him, the authority has instructed all their staffs at regional levels to restock all their tree nursery beds of indigenous seedlings, to enable them realize the dream by the year 2020, urging Ugandans to embrace the campaign.
Okello explains that the intervention is in line with Sustainable Development Goal number 13, which demands for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Notably, the intervention has come after the Lwengo district executive and securing committees last year, banned the planting of eucalyptus trees in wetlands in the area. The district forest department together with police has since moving around cutting all eucalyptus forests planted in wetlands.