REDD will ease deforestation in Uganda
A global program, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) is starting in Uganda. Derived from the 2007 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, REDD seeks to address climate change through reversing rapid depletion of the world’s forest resources.
REDD is crafted on the backdrop of scientific proof that deforestation releases 20% of atmospheric Green House Gases (GHGs). A swelling canopy of GHGs (with 80% from industrial emissions) holds heat which is now linked with global warming.
Reversing deforestation controls emissions but more importantly, forests are carbon sinks that clean the atmosphere by absorbing GHGs. Under REDD, resources are mobilized through multi-lateral and bi-lateral arrangements for interventions that address ‘drivers’ of deforestation.
With an aggregate forest cover of 80,000 ha lost annually (73,000 ha on private land and 7,000 ha in Protected Areas, REDD is timely in
Attacks on forest officers, persistent encroachment on Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) and spiraling extraction of timber make a solid case for alternative interventions alongside enforcement of conservation laws. In
In such communities, REDD’s emphasis on channeling resources towards cultural and economic ‘drivers’ of deforestation presents real possibilities for positive engagement. National Forestry Authority (NFA’s) experience with the Collaborative Forest Management (CFM), strategy shows that this model is more sustainable.
CFM is a mutually beneficial strategy under-which joint-management agreements are signed with forest-neighboring communities. The communities commit to protect CFRs while NFA offers them support to establish non-consumptive forest-based projects like tree-planting, bee-keeping, eco-tourism and wood-lot establishment.
Communities develop alternative livelihoods without foraging from and degrading CFRs. For NFA, CFM is ‘cheaper’, effective and diffuses conflict with forest-adjacent communities. We note that in
Outside Protected Areas (with 70% of
At policy-level, REDD could support efforts towards increasing power generation and reducing tariffs which have rendered electricity unaffordable. Due to high power costs many people have opted for charcoal and firewood as fuel-wood. REDD could also consider institutional support to bodies like NFA, District Forestry Services (DFS) and conservation NGOs.
NFA is leading the build-up to REDD but its success hinges on support from other stakeholders i.e. policy-makers, civil society, the media, communities political and religious leaders. Multiple consultations starting in May 2010 will therefore adopt multiple proposals to evolve consensus on REDD in
At a recent Barclays – NFA aforestation initiative in Nonve CFR, Wakiso District Chairman, Ian Kyeyune endorsed conservation practices that resonate with community aspirations. If the up-coming REDD consultations yield a consensus close to this proposal, the future of our forestry sector would be brighter.