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REFORESTATION, UGANDA

General description of the project activity

The Ugandan reforestation project combines climate, environmental and social benefits and serves as an example for sustainable development in the heart of East Africa.

The reforestation project is located in the Albertine Rift in Uganda, an area stretching from the Virungas on the border between Uganda and Rwanda up to the northern tip of Lake Albert.

The country, with an average altitude of 1000m, lies on the East African Plateau and is the source of the Nile, the longest river in the world. As the least developed country (LDC), Uganda is in need of sustainable long-term investment.

Uganda, still one of the poorest African countries, with an income level of about half the sub-Saharan average, is in need of funding to foster sustainable development. This reforestation project addresses both the critical local economic situation, educational and environmental issues in the region, and global warming. Besides the project’s core activity, great efforts are undertaken in supporting local schools, fighting illiteracy, qualifying local people, and restoring local ecosystems.

In a formerly degraded area, deforested for illegal timber trade and firewood, the project activity already led to more than one million trees (muses, pine, and eucalyptus) being planted and managed in an advanced agroforestry scheme. The project comprises 120 km², employs more than 600 people, and is the first ever to be granted both Carbon Fix and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCBA) certification for its positive social and ecological impact. 20% of the project’s acreage is reserved for conservation, protecting wetlands along riverbeds throughout the plantation area.

A lot of hands-on work is necessary to grow seedlings and prevent weeds from choking out the saplings. Later, grazing sheep are used to control the weeds, avoiding the use of pesticides.

Initially, the best forestry students in the country were recruited to learn about the project. Subsequently, the recruits were tasked with managing the project with the assistance of international experts to enable knowledge transfer.

Economic well-being:

  • Until the start of the project in 2002, the road passing through the reserve was feared by travellers due to robbers which had used that area of the reserve as a hiding place. Since then, foresters, workers and their families have settled in the surrounding neighbourhood, making the Forest Reserve one of the most peaceful and crime free areas of the district.
  • With about 600 jobs in forestry and associated industry (e.g. saw mills), the project is providing new opportunities for mostly young adults who no longer have to migrate to the cities in search of work or turn to illegal logging, etc. All workers enjoy a living standard above Ugandan standard.
  • Women receive particular support through the free provision of nurseries so they can work and generate a higher family income.
  • The project owner provides the employees with appropriate housing, access to medical services and access to clean water.
  • Education as one of the most important drivers of sustainable development is supported by paying the salaries of local teachers.
  • In cooperation with Anamed NGO, weekly workshops are held in the region to teach medical knowledge and the use of local medicinal plants, cutting health cost significantly.
  • The project has initiated a community forestry programme to train people from the neighbouring villages in tree planting, with already 300 families participating. Initially 200,000 seedlings where provided free of charge to these trainees (which are still under permanent assistance and support of a company forester to secure sustainability).
  • Each term, scholarships are given to foresters-in-training.

Environmental well-being:

  • To protect rare species and restore natural habitats, the project has set aside over 20% of its area for conservation purposes. Animals such as antelopes, monkeys and countless bird species have found a refuge there.
  • By providing sustainably managed timber for the local market, the project is reducing cross border illegal logging activities in natural forest areas in Uganda, Congo and Sudan.
  • As side effects of the project, wildfires are better controlled and therefore emit less CO2, and soil erosion has been reduced.

Checklist

  • Additionally and permanence: according to the rules of the CCBA and Carbon Fix
  • 3rd party verified: by TÜV Süd
  • Transparency: provided by Markit Environmental Registry
  • Lifetime CO2 reduction: 900,000 tCO2
  • Social and environmental benefits: as documented in our database
  • Marketing material: high resolution pictures and video available