Uganda has begun an important mission to plant 40 million trees in 2023. The Ministry of Water and Environment, with the help of partners, planted one million trees at St. Francis Xavier in Kajjansi, Wakiso District. This effort is part of the Running Out of Trees (ROOTs) campaign, which aims to restore Uganda’s tree cover by planting 40 million trees each year until 2026, representing one tree for every Ugandan.
During the National Tree Planting Day activities, Bashir Kayondo Ndawula, the Mayor of Kajjansi Town Council, expressed happiness that rejuvenating the forest cover was a top priority, especially as the country prepared for Independence Day celebrations.
The National Forestry Authority reported in 2017 that Uganda lost half of its forest cover in the past 30 years, going from 4.9 million hectares to 2.5 million hectares. Much of this forest degradation occurs on private land, where landowners choose to use the land for agriculture, industry, or settlement instead of preserving biodiversity.
Forestry is essential for Uganda’s economy, contributing 6% of the GDP, and over 90% of the population relies on forests for their energy needs, including firewood and charcoal.
Jean Gavalda, the Business Development and Corporate Affairs Director at Total Energies, highlighted the impact of deforestation on climate change and its adverse effects on businesses. He pointed out that the cost to businesses is already evident with floods, landslides, and prolonged droughts. The private sector understands the urgency of combating deforestation’s negative impact on people and businesses, Gavalda added.