In Greater Luweero, efforts are being made to restore the forest cover that has been lost over the years due to various factors, including deforestation for charcoal and timber. While land tenure issues and encroachment on former forested areas pose challenges, partnerships with government institutions and private individuals are showing positive results in promoting tree planting.
Luweero District Chairperson, Mr. Erasto Kibirango, acknowledges the encroachment problem but points to recent gains made in forest rejuvenation, particularly in places like the Lazarus Nandere Forest under Kasana-Luweero Diocese.
Private land presents difficulties in monitoring tree planting, but natural resources officials are actively raising awareness about the importance of tree planting. Some institutions now have policies promoting tree planting on sections of their land.
Luweero District Forestry Officer, Mr. Deogratias Mijumbi, reports a significant increase in tree planting, facilitated by the National Forestry Authority. They provide tree seedlings to interested parties for planting.
One example of successful restoration is the Lazarus Nandere Forest in Nyimbwa Sub-county, Luweero District. Conservationists have managed to restore more than half of this former 244-acre natural forest, benefitting the local ecosystem, including wildlife.
To prevent further encroachment, community outreach programs have been initiated to educate residents about the advantages of tree planting and to involve them in planting activities.
Mr. Sylvester Kule, Director of Programmes at Bethany Land Institute, emphasizes the importance of community engagement in boosting forest tree cover. Bethany Land Institute conducts outreach tree planting programs in Nakaseke and Nakasongola.
There is optimism that Greater Luweero can recover at least half of its lost tree cover by 2030, with a target of planting 33,333 trees annually in the Lazarus Nandere Forest.
While there has been a decrease in tree cover over the years, deliberate tree planting campaigns are raising awareness among residents, even though some sections of the public may not be fully engaged.
Efforts to protect gazetted forest reserves in Luweero date back to 2010 when a concession was established with the World Bank. Uganda’s Vision 2040 aims to restore the country’s forest cover from 15 percent in 2010 to 24 percent by 2040, though achieving this target remains uncertain.
Forecasts suggest that private land in Uganda may lose its forests in the next decade. Evidence from a 2016 report revealed a decline in Uganda’s forest cover from 24 percent in 1990 to just 11 percent in 2015.