Plant a Tree

Deforestation is a major problem all over the world, but in Africa the problem is compounded. Many people rely on trees for firewood & charcoal, for cooking and keeping warm, and for building homes, shops and offices.

It is not unusual in Uganda to find a 3 storey building being constructed using gum pole scaffolding. Farmers will happily chop down trees to clear land for crops because the tree can earn them an income as timber but cannot feed their children if it is still in their field.  But they will not consider planting another tree in its place so their children can reap the same benefits in years to come.

Mvule Project logoAt the beginning of 2011 and in celebration of 15 years rafting the Nile, Nile River Explorers embarked on an ambitious commitment to help restore the banks of the Nile with indigenous trees. Our goal was to plant a tree for every person who rafted with us that year.

With the help of The Mvule Project, Nile River Explorers acquired access to large sections of land along the banks of the Nile and began a reforestation programme which included not only the planting of indigenous hard wood trees but also fruit trees and fast growing trees suitable for firewood and building.

Seedling beds were made at both Explorers River Camp at Bujagali Falls and The Hairy Lemon in Kayunga district. Early in the year over 10,000 seeds were planted in order for them to reach maturity in time for planting during the rainy season.

Mvule tree at sunset 75 year od Mvule cut down

An article from the Mvule Project

The Devastating Effects of Deforestation 12-09-2008
by Bobby Garner, Project Manager

Recently I was driving to the furthest village from my home that is still within Busoga (over 3 hours, one way). Abraham Mulongo and Ezekiel Suuti were also with me when we came across this giant mvule that had recently been cut down. We jumped out and posed for a few shots. That tree standing in the background is also a mvule.

We asked some locals and it seems this tree is at least 75 years old. We estimated about 400 sacks of charcoal will be made from it’s branches (one sack of charcoal stands about 4.5 feet in height and has a diameter of 20 inches). The timber alone will bring the owner of this tree more than $2000. This is where things get difficult.
The Ugandan government has recognized the deforestation of hardwoods as a national problem and they now ban the cutting and sale of such trees. The fine is more than the sale of the timber and includes imprisonment. But for some the risk is worth it as school fees and food prices continue to rise.
If the Mvule Project continues at its present rate, we hope to take Uganda forward on both the ecological and economic fronts.

If replanting is successful, then the government will be able to lift the ban and people can rise in economic standards.