The little known Namatale Central Forest Reserve which is sitting on 663-hectares in Mbale district is a giver of water. Its catchment feeds water to nine rivers which form a River Namatale.
This feeds River Mpologoma in Pallisa district before it supplies its water to Lake Kyoga.
Although, Namatale forest keeps the rivers alive, it is facing encroachment with about eight hectares or 12 acres of the forest already destroyed. This could change in the coming months if Rotoract and the National Forestry Authority (NFA) succeed in their drive of restoring the degraded part of the forest.
The indigenous trees will be planted on eight hectares or12 acres of land in Namatale forest reserve by staff of NFA together with Rotoract and their partners on September between 28th and 30th. The communities staying in the vicinity of the forest will also be given trees including fruit trees to plant on their land.
NFA’s director Policy and Planning, Paul Buyerah said biomass studies by NFA of 2015 identified massive deforestation as one of the most critical environmental crises facing Uganda.
“Uganda’s forest cover across the country tremendously declined from 24% (4,933,271) of the land area in 1990 to less than 9% (1,956,664) in 2018. In other words Uganda has lost 3,000,000 hectares in 25 years. To reverse this loss by 2040, we need to restore at least 136,000 Hectares annually.
He also warned that deforestation and degradation has led to habitat loss and species and species extinction, soil degradation resulting into poor crop yield. The high rate of deforestation has contributed to climate variability resulting into excess heat and disappearance of local streams. He also pointed out that forest destruction is also associated to landslides and floods.
Francis Adule, Rotoract Uganda’s project chairperson said they kicked off the campaign in April, 2015. They have planted 1,500 trees in Nakasongola, 10,000 in West Bugwe forest reserve, 10,000 trees in Matiri forest reserve in Kyejonjo and 3,000 trees in Gulu last year.
Adule said their target is to plant 10 million trees by 2020 under the Rotoract Earth Initiative. The tree planting drive and other activities contribute towards sustainable environment, food security and better primary health care, according to Adule.