KAMPALA – The Minister for Water and Environment Sam Cheptoris has called for the establishment of forests in urban centers as opposed to limiting their establishment to only rural areas.
Cheptoris made the call on Wednesday 6 while appearing together with officials from National Forest Authority at a meeting with lawmakers on 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 centers too like it is the case in some countries and urges that those forests in towns that are still intact should remain undisturbed or if so, a nearest land should be exchanged for this matter to have replanting.
The Executive Director National Forest Authority, Tom Okello Odong highlights the absence of boundaries as the main challenge to protecting the forest reserves.
Currently, the country has 506 forest reserves with 2900km boundaries open while 7100km remain unopened.
He says as the Authority, they are now 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.
Meanwhile, Odong pointed out government entities like Uganda Land Commission and Uganda Investment Authority as some of the contributors to encroaching on forest reserves since these give out land titles and give forest land to investors respectively.
He cited an example of Namanve forest reserve that has highly been affected and that Mabira forest too is under threat due to increased encroachment by the public.