Five thousand Nine hundred thirty (5,930) hectares of land in protected forest reserves of Bunyoro Sub-Region ranging between 5-50 hectares are up for grabs through competitive bidding in private tree planting project with the aim of increasing forest cover and conserve the natural forests.
The National Forest Authority (NFA) Range Manager for Bugoma systems, Stuart Maniraguha while speaking to Community Green Radio said the project dubbed “Community tree planting project” is aimed at giving out free tree seedlings to locals starting next planting season April 2018 after government providing the required financial.
Maniraguha says NFA is currently accepting applications for individuals and institutions who may wish to invest in first phase planting trees in 13 forests and do eco-tourism (apiary and quarry) in two forests totaling to15 protected forest reserves.
The protected National Forest Reserves are located in Hoima, Masindi and Greater Kibaale respectively Kasongoire, Ibamba, Kyamugongo, Mpanga in Hoima, while Fumbia, Sirisiri, Sekuro, Nyakunyu, Kitonya are for Masindi area and Greater Kibaale has Kanaga,Ruzaire, Kijuna and Nyabiko
“The demand for wood/fuel is high and rates of deforestation are alarming therefore Masindi districts planting trees can help in reducing pressure that is exerted in the natural forests like Bugoma, Budongo and others” elaborates Maniraguha .
NFA quarterly report of June and August 2017, indicates that over 1,000 pieces of timber were impounded which is an indicator that the pressure on forest reserves is still high.
National Forestry Authority has teamed up with the district natural resources department and the office of the Resident District Commissioner to ensure that they team up to protect the forests from people with selfish interests.
NAPE’s Officer in-charge of Forests and Bio-diversity David Kureeba, supports the idea but says some tree Species like Pine and Eucalyptus are semi-autonomous which is dangerous because after clearing them at maturity, the land is left bare causing adverse climatic change since their purpose of planting is commercial.
“The tree planting project should be of sustainable species which will help conserve the Environment by constantly keeping the soil covered not species that are cut after maturity and leave the land bare” eludes Kureeba.
Story by Dorcus Drijaru