Indigenous Tree Species Reforestation: the Future of Terrestrial Biodiversity in Uganda

August 5th, 2015 | pw

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People in Nalutuntu Village, Uganda, learn to protect their forest and its biodiversity and take action to adapt to climate change adversed effects.

Project Snapshot


Coordinator: Estellina Namutebi

Location: Naluntuntu Village, Mubende District, Uganda


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Forests are habitat for nearly 90% of the living and non-living organisms in the biotic community terrestrial biodiversity (World Bank 2004). However, many forests are extinct due to deforestation in Uganda as the result of agriculture and industrialization (Van Kooten and Bulte, 2000). In rural areas, like Nalutuntu Village, subsistence farming and charcoal burning has given way to deforestation as a means of earning a living to many individual households. Multipurpose indigenous tree species have been felled for charcoal burning and timber products. This has caused precarious droughts and biodiversity extinction. As well, the forest cover has become very thin, its ability to carbon sequestrates has weakened, and it cannot effectively provide habitat for biodiversity.

The aforementioned issues arose from the varying degree in management and conservation of indigenous tree species in Africa particularly in Uganda. Also, laws that govern biodiversity conservation are documented, but have never been implemented.

For these reasons, increasing the number of indigenous tree species and conserve the remnant trees could in the long run maintain ecological vitality.


“When we take action at the local level we are empowered’’ (Wangari Mathaai, 2004, Nobel Prize Laureat)”.


To maintain environmental vitality – through indigenous tree species reforestation, within a period of five years, and for ecological sustainability – through taking care of the planted trees by 2017.


People-centered development approach


Community-focused training;

Communities are trained in biodiversity and environmental conservation, indigenous tree reforestation, organic methods of farming and the use of appropriate technology with locally available resources. They engage in off-farm activities, i.e. liquid and bar soap, fruit juice and wine making, including mushroom growing for family nutrition, as well as honey bee keeping for sale. In reforestation focus are given to Entada abyssinica A.Rich (Mwoolola), Albizia coriaria Welw. Ex Oliv. (Mugavu), and Melicia exlesa (Muvule) (Tabuti et al, 2012), which are a home to 70 percent of the world’s plants and animals, bird species, and 90 per cent of invertebrates (Anon, 1996).

The above activities aim at increasing household awareness of environment and biodiversity conservation with emphasis on indigenous tree reforestation and to improve forest cover. As well, mitigating charcoal burning by providing off-farm activities.


More than 35 households have participated in planting 3,500 tree species on their land. As well, farmers have been given 500 varieties of fruit trees such as Mangoes, Guava and Avocadoes for planting to improve on their diet.

This activity is made to encourage the community’s ownership of the environment.

Both activities serve as biodiversity protection measures.


Training of pupils and students who are the leaders of tomorrow have begun. In September 2015, pupils of the Primary School in Nalutuntu Village will be trained in environmental and biodiversity conservation and adaptation measures to climate change effects especially drought and floods. They will thus be given tree seedlings for planting.

The previous activity, which was funded by the Rufford Foundation as a pilot project, is now progressing into a Community-based Organization (CBO), currently in process of registration.

Reforestation Uganda

Cited references:

World Bank. (2004). Sustaining forests: a development strategy. The World Bank, Washington D.C.

Yatich T, Kalinganire A, Weber J.C, Alinon K, Dakouo J.M, Samaké O and Sangaré S. 2014. How do Forestry Codes affect access, use and management of protected indigenous tree species: Evidence from West African Sahel. Occasional Paper No.15 Nairobi: World Agroforestry Centre.

Tabuti, J. R., Kukunda, C. B., Kaweesi, D., & Kasilo, O. M. (2012). Herbal medicine use in the districts of Nakapiripirit, Pallisa, Kanungu, and Mukono in Uganda. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed, 8, 35.