SIR â€” I am worried about the future of forestry in Uganda. A lot of destruction has been done on both natural and plantation forests all in the name of creating land for industrial development. Water levels of major lakes and rivers have receded partly as a result.
The colonialists who were foreigners put a lot of importance on forestry by earmarking chunks of land as forest reserves. Today, our very own citizens are happily de-gazetting forest reserves without much a thought about posterity.
After the Forest Department that gave way to the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and the hitherto neglected District Forestry Services, forestry operations emphasise more timber extraction than tree planting!
Decentralising forestry activities into the local government system has failed to take off in some districts as some canâ€™t even realise the contribution of forestry in poverty alleviation in the short run.
The Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Water and Environment have not raised a finger to support forestry in districts even when over 90% of Ugandaâ€™s population indirectly or directly depend on forestry for their food and energy needs.
Whoever plans for the environment of this country without emphasising tree planting is missing a major point.
Tree planting is more important than timber!