Home Environment NEMA Seeks To Increase Uganda’s Wood Cover in New Policy

NEMA Seeks To Increase Uganda’s Wood Cover in New Policy

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The Uganda National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)has issued a new policy that seeks to increase Uganda’s deteriorating wood cover

According to the policy,  all existing timber processing factories and those seeking to join the business are required to  provide proof of sustainable sources of supply of raw materials before being issued certificates 

The new development is intended to consolidate national efforts to restore the environment and national forest cover and to curb the rampant harvesting of immature trees and potential poaching of trees from protected areas

“Effective September 6 applications for approval of timber processing factories will require proof of sustainable sources of supply of raw materials, a statement issued by NEMA reads in part

Adding that all existing timber processing plants will also be required to identify their sustainable sources of wood, with evidence, before their certificate is renewed or audits approved.

Speaking to the  DaParrot Noame who dubs as the Public Relations Officer NEMA,  noted that there is always a starting point and that now  seemed like the right time, especially since Uganda’s wood cover was reducing and also facing the climate change issue at hand 

LineSteppa Community

According to the National Forest Authority, Uganda’s forest cover stands at about 1.9 Million Hectares (15%) which is about 10 % of Uganda’s land cover area

Noam, therefore, notes that by protecting the trees there will be more room for them to grow and also ensure sustainability since many people will also engage in their own tree planting activities

“You can’t just go cutting trees, the only legal way is having a permit that allows you to harvest the trees so that you’re not liable to degradation,” she said.

Adding that it has been a practice that people have been acquiring permits to run timber factories and that the only condition that has changed is the need to provide proof of the sources of raw materials.

She however noted that this may arise with new challenges but at least they’re would be a guarantee about legal management of wood and market

LineSteppa Community

“While this process may increase the demand on imported timber, this may happen for a short term since  Uganda has registered a number of legal and sufficient sources of timber both public and private who only require to be efficiently managed,” she noted

The Uganda wood asset and forest resources account report June 2020, notes that due to rising demand for wood products as a result of population growth and urbanization, national wood demand was projected to more than double from its 2015 level by 2040, from 48 million tonnes to 105 million tonnes per annum.

However under these demand projections, and considering also the expansion of agriculture, sustainable wood supplies from areas defined as forests will be fully depleted by 2025, leaving an annual wood supply deficit of 72,600 tonnes by 2030.

The  Wood available for supply from outside forests will reduce to just 3.0 million tonnes by 2040, less than 3 percent of total demand in 2040. Consequently, most future wood production will then have to shift to areas reserved for forest and wildlife conservation

LineSteppa Community

The supply and use tables also show that Uganda’s wood product trade deficit (the difference between exports and imports), was reduced by 8.8 times between 2000 and 2015. The economic flows of selected non-wood forest products (shea oil and Prunus Africana bark) were valued at UGX 280 (US$128.6 million) in 2010 and UGX 281 billion (US$86.7 million) in 2015, with exports of UGX 15.2 billion (US$7.0 million) and UGX 15.5 billion (US$4.8 million), respectively

She, therefore, urged that they had all systems in place ranging from the technology and physician workforce to perform that tasks and that the process will not take more than the normal process of acquiring a permit.

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