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Minister Roots For Forests In Urban Centres

Sam Mangusho Cheptoris, the Cabinet Minister of Water and Environment has called for establishment of forests in urban centres as opposed to limiting them in only rural areas.

Cheptoris made the call today while appearing together with officials from National Forest Authority before the Parliamentary Natural Resources Committee to give status reports on different forest reserves in the country.

Cheptoris says with the climate change in place, the country purely needs forests in urban centres too like it is the case in some countries.

He says that forests in towns that are still intact should remain undisturbed or nearest land should be exchanged for this matter to have trees replanted.

Uganda’s forest cover has been depleted to 8% up from 24% in 1990s, largely attributed to human encroachment for different activities such as tree cutting for charcoal and timber as well as agriculture.

According to National Forest Authority Executive Director, Tom Okello Odong, the absence of boundaries is the main challenge in as far as protecting forest reserves are concerned.

Currently, Uganda has 506 forest reserves with 2900km boundaries open while 7100km remain unopened.

Okello  revealed that NFA is looking at icing concrete pillars in opening the boundaries of these forests than the old system that has existed of digging trenches which makes it so easy for encroachers.

He further revealed that government entities like Uganda Land Commission and Uganda Investment Authority are some of the contributors to encroaching on forest reserves since these give out land titles and forest land to investors respectively.

He cited an example of Namanve forest reserve that has highly been affected.

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