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Kampala, Uganda

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Why do we cut trees?!

You must know that the word deforestation is a common word to most of us. We all know that this would simply mean the mass cut down of forest cover. Uganda has lost 41.6% of its forest cover in the last 100 years which serves as a drastic decline because as of 1900, Uganda’s forest cover stood at 54% and by 2017, it stood at a miserable 12.4%.

Trees have furnished us with two of life’s essentials, food and oxygen. While these two are the most essential, the purpose of trees is not limited to them. They provided additional necessities such as shelter, medicine, and tools. Now the big question is why considering all the benefits that trees provide are we adamantly still cutting them down?

The main cause of our tree reduction would be the high use of charcoal among Ugandans. 94% of Ugandans rely on unsustainably sourced fuel wood, with gas being prohibitively expensive, the vast majority of Ugandans rely on charcoal or firewood that has been harvested from national forests. 

The most common reason why our trees are cut has to do with the amount of paper we use as a continent. As we all know the reams of paper in our offices and A4 sheets that run through our printer come from the bark of trees. 

Forests are often cleared to make way for agricultural activities. This is particularly common in regions where slash-and-burn agriculture is practised. Trees are cleared to create space for crops and livestock.

One of the other primary reasons for cutting down trees is to obtain wood for various purposes. This includes construction materials, furniture, paper, and other wood-based products. The timber industry is a significant driver of deforestation.

What has been the way forward?

Uganda has carried out several Policies and legal and Institutional Reforms aimed at promoting the conservation and sustainable use of the country’s forest resources. To enforce this in the forestry and other environment sub-sectors, the government also established the Environmental Protection Police Unit. 

The key reforms include: 

  1. Putting in place of the National Forestry Policy, 2001. 
  2. Enactment of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2003. 
  3. New institutional arrangements include the Forest Sector Support Department and the National Forestry Authority. 
  4. District Forestry Services being made. 

the one obvious solution is to stop cutting trees down and to replant other trees. As we all know reafforestation is the key to a better and safer environment. The next time that you buy a new piece of land and do not know what to use it for, plant several trees to help preserve the land and the environment. Together as a nation, we can save the world one tree at a time.

Credit: Freepik

“He who plants a tree plants a hope.”

– Lucy Larcom