The National Environment Management Authority(NEMA) on Thursday commenced restoration of Oliduru Central Forest Reserve (CFR) in Ogwete Sub-county; Otuke district.
Before being encroached upon, the forest reserve largely comprised of Shea nut trees; that have since been declared an endangered species.
Encroachment on the forest was a result of the illicit trade in charcoal from both within Uganda and across borders in Kenya, where charcoal traders prefer buying charcoal burnt from the Shea Nut, because it is a hard wood species.
In this restoration exercise, NEMA with support from the National Forestry Authority, Ngetta Zonal Agriculture Research Institute and the Otuke district local government will plant 15,000 Shea Nut seedlings in the bare parts of the forest reserve, covering up to 222 hectares of land.
Restoration of Oliduru CFR follows a pilot exercise carried out under the Kidepo Critical Landscape Project that registered a 90% success rate.
Speaking at the launch of the activity, NEMA’s Natural Resources Manager in charge of Biodiversity and Rangelands, Mr. Francis Ogwal disclosed that the United Nations is likely to declare the years 2021-2030 as a Decade for Restoration.
“It is therefore prudent that even before that declaration is made, as a country we must start restoring the aspects of nature that we have destroyed,” he added.
Otuke district officials who took part in the restoration included the Chief Administration Officer Joshua Mabiya Otuke, Resident district commissioner Robert Abak, among other leaders who all appreciated the effort of NEMA.
A state of environment report released by NEMA indicates that Uganda had 5 million hectares of forest in 1990 which dropped to 3.5 million hectares (2005) due to deforestation.