1 April 2006

Uganda: Deforestation Worries Environmentalists

Mbale — THE rate of deforestation in the country is high, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

This is contained in a report released by the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Cornelis Klein, in Mbale during a regional workshop on the 2005 National Human Development Report.

The workshop, which attracted participants from 16 districts, targeted district education officers, environment officers information officers, environment secretaries and civil society organisations dealing with the environment.

The report indicates that 90 per cent of the population in Uganda depends on firewood as the main source of energy.

"This has greatly caused over destruction of forests and uncontrolled charcoal production," the report said.

Klien said forestry is the main source of income to more than one million people.

"But it's hard for people to plant trees and be influenced to practise controlled charcoal burning which is on high demand," he said.

"This has greatly affected the environment through over cutting trees."

The report stated that the government should intervene and control the rate of deforestation.

"In the absence of appropriate interventions, forests and woodlands on private land could be wiped out in 17 to 62 years," the report said.

The Environment Officer for Tororo, Mr John Agong John, said the natural resources sector is poorly funded by the government.

He said they they cannot fully execute their duties.

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