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Enriching Uganda’s drylands A response to the concerns raised by FOMAWA Restoring Lwamunda forest in central Uganda EA governments losing millions through illegal cross-border timber trade Subscription only I s s u e N o.1 9 J u l y - Se p t e m b er 2 0 1 3

Changing lives

How TIST has improved life in Tharaka Nithi

Great timber on our doorstep

Teak trees can be grown successfully in Uganda

Money down the drain

Why do we keep sinking funds into boreholes that yield no water?

An untapped resource Trade in red stinkwood bark presents unique wealth-creation opportunities

Better Globe Forestry Ltd

Making Africa greener

Making Africa greener Better Globe Forestry (BGF) is part of The Better Globe Group from Norway, which focuses on the need to fight poverty through promoting massive tree planting and sustainable agricultural programmes. BGF’s vision is to create secure commercial projects with vital humanitarian and environmental activities and as a result become the biggest tree planting company in the world within 20 years.

Land in Kiambere before planting. Note the omnipresent soil erosion

The mission of BGF is to make Africa a greener, healthier place in which to live and eradicate poverty by focusing on the development of profitable, commercial tree plantations that will deliver environmental as well as humanitarian benefits. Miti magazine is a publication of Better Globe. It is the policy of BGF to, among other things: • Create attractive financial opportunities for present and future investors, Continuously identify and address the needs of employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders, the community at large and any other stakeholders, • Focus on the need to help fight poverty, through promoting massive tree planting • Create and sustain motivation throughout the organisation for meeting its business objectives, • Continuously maintain and review an effective and efficient Quality System which as a minimum satisfies the requirements of the appropriate Quality System standard(s), • Continuously improve the performance of all aspects of the organisation.

Workers clearing a thicket in Nyangoro in preparation for tree planting

Our nursery at Kiambere

A two-year-old plantation of Melia volkensii in Kiambere

Workers in BGF’s plantation in Kiambere, after receiving a food donation

A Melia volkensii plus -tree part of our genetic improved programme

Preparing for planting in Kiambere

The committee of Witu Nyongoro ranch with Rino Solberg and Jean-Paul Deprins




Issue No. 19 July- September 2013




Time for some changes


News and events

Tree Talk is working with the youth to create a green economy, especially in northern Uganda By Jonathan Kisakye and Gaster Kiyingi


An untapped resource

Trade in Prunus africana bark presents unique opportunities for employment, wealth creation and foreign exchange earnings By Joshua Cheboiwo


Borderline trade in timber

The Kenya and Tanzania governments are losing millions through illegal cross-border trade in wood By Michael Gachanja


Growing trees for a better future

TIST assists small farmers to join the international carbon credit market By Jeffrey Aronson


Changing lives through small groups

How TIST activities have improved incomes and health in a village in Tharaka Nithi By Jan Vandenabeele


Great timber on our doorstep

Teak, a high value tropical timber can be grown successfully in northern Uganda By Walter Mapanda


Towards healthy fruit trees

HCDA encourages farmers to plant certified seedlings to avoid disease and pests By Josephine Simiyu


Striving to reduce costs

KTDA faces challenges in its efforts to switch to wood fuel for curing tea By George Oselu


Enriching Uganda’s drylands

Agroforestry has the potential to combat desertification, diminish the effects of climate change and improve livelihoods By Clement Okia


Rocky myths and legends

Nzambani Rock in Kitui is surrounded by tales of mystery By Steven Gitonga


Responding to climate change

Forest managers need to adjust management plans and practices in anticipation of changing weather patterns By Simmone Rose


Nurturing high quality tree seed

For highly productive tree plantation sectors, we must invest in tree improvement programmes By Bernard Kamondo, Jan Vandenabeele and Peter Angaine


Money down the drain

Why do we keep sinking funds into boreholes yet very few provide water? By Erik Nissen-Pettersen


Plant the right tree in the right zone

Site-species matching for some useful trees in Uganda By Micheal Malinga


Concerns need addressing

FOMAWA raised important issues on forest management By Rudolf Makhanu


Restoring Lwamunda forest

NFA and Norway-Uganda Friendship Association collaborate to restore a degraded forest reserve By Diana Ahebwe

41 Pictorial

Better Globe Forestry now working with schools

It’s all a matter of planning, says investor

Tree grower is enthusiastic about the returns from commercial forestry By Diana Ahebwe


Kitting out the hospitality industry

Mango Ltd provides furniture and interior accessories for homes, hotels and restaurants By Wanjiru Ciira

On the cover: Matthew Mutegi Muchee and Francis Ngaruni proudly show off mango seedlings in Mr Muchee’s nursery (See article on page 11). (Photo: Miti magazine)


Time for some structural changes


magazine faces many challenges. There is of course the search for primary and secondary content related to the theme and the chapters of the issue, the search for photos and illustrations to support written content and the travelling for interviews and field visits. Then there is editing and design, followed by printing and distribution. In the nearly five years that Miti magazine has been in existence, these activities have been performed satisfactorily as shown by the magazine’s ever increasing subscription base in Kenya, Uganda and not surprisingly, other countries of the world. We have however been constantly plagued with the facts of figures. The magazine is still not making money and this has obliged the initiative-takers to look for lasting solutions, as all agree that Miti is here to stay. Miti is intimately related to Better Globe Forestry (BGF) and its afforestation projects in arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL). The MoUs signed with our esteemed partners like ICRAF, KEFRI and KFS all initiated from BGF. Our core editorial team is made up of professionals in afforestation or related educational or research institutions. We herewith salute once more, all our contributors who constantly take away quality time from their busy schedules to bring knowledge and insights to our readers in a completely unselfish way! In view of the relationship between Miti and BGF, it was a logical evolution for BGF to take over Miti to be run as a division, starting 1st July 2013. Nothing will change in content or workings but the magazine will thrive in a supported manner until it generates enough income to be self-sustaining. We also needed to adjust our subscription prices (see page 3) to match the ever-increasing costs of distribution. Market research indicates that our subscribers understand this and are willing to pay for the quality of information they receive from Miti. We, on our side, guarantee that the quality of the magazine will not only be maintained but also continuously improved. The new prices take effect starting with issue 20 and we encourage all our readers and associates to take a subscription today at current prices. Content-wise, this issue has tackled a rich variety of issues, starting with the export opportunities that Prunus africana (red stinkwood) bark presents, the possibilities for growing teak wood in Uganda and the illegal cross-border trade in wood products between Kenya and Tanzania. Farmers will learn from TIST how they can join the international carbon credit market, and from HCDA, how to plant healthy fruit trees. Other contributions from Uganda deal with agroforestry and forest restoration. Enjoy fully this quarterly trip through forestry. Jean-Paul Deprins

Published by:

Chairman of the Editorial Board:

Technical Editor

Better Globe Forestry Ltd No. 4, Tabere Crescent, Kileleshwa P.O. Box 823 – 00606 Nairobi, Kenya Tel: + 254 20 434 3435 Mobile: + 254 722 758 745 Email:

Rino Solberg

Jan Vandenabeele

Editorial Committee

Country Director - Uganda Julie Solberg

Uganda office: MITI MAGAZINE ® Plot 1908/9, Mitala Rd, Kasanga P.O. Box 22232 Kampala, Uganda Mobile: + 256 775 392 597 Email:


Joshua Cheboiwo, Francis Gachathi, Keith Harley, Enock Kanyanya, James Kung’u, Rudolph Makhanu, Fridah Mugo, Jackson Mulatya, Mary Njenga, Alex Oduor, Leakey Sonkoyo, Jean-Paul Deprins, Jan Vandenabeele and Wanjiru Ciira

Country Representative - Uganda Diana Ahebwe



Jean-Paul Deprins

Daniel N. Kihara

Managing Editor - Kenya


Wanjiru Ciira

Miti July - September 2013

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Catching them young Tree Talk is working with the youth and others to create a green economy, especially in northern Uganda BY JONATHAN KISAKYE and GASTER KIYINGI


ree Talk is an initiative of the Straight Talk Foundation, a Ugandan civil society organisation (CSO), with international funding. It is a nationwide social forestry initiative targeting the youth with information on tree growing. Tree Talk has its biggest impact in northern Uganda because of the need for ecological restoration after 20 years of war in the region. Tree Talk was established in 2002 at the time of forest sector reforms in Uganda (2001 – 2007). The organisation started work in northern Uganda in 2005 together with the United Nations World Food Programme. The objective was to create sources of fuel wood for schools around internally displaced people’s camps. Tree Talk encourages the youth to see forests and trees as their future and a source of income for their education. In working to achieve this, Tree Talk established Tree Talk magazine, and mailed it, together with a sachet of seeds, to over 13,000 schools. Over 40,000 copies of the magazine are circulated as inserts in the New Vision newspaper. Tree Talk has since evolved - with eight big nurseries having an annual output of 400,000 seedlings each. These are located in Amuru, Nwoya, Gulu, Pader, Kitgum, Lamwo, Adjumani and Moyo districts in northern Uganda. Tree Talk also supports


22 community nurseries at various levels of performance and has established woodlots at over 525 schools. Tree Talk is also working with the police, military barracks, prisons and faith-based institutions. Species in nurseries around displaced persons camps include Senna siamea, Markhamia lutea, Leucaena leucocephala and Eucalyptus grandis, with a mix of indigenous species such as Khaya senegalensis (mahogany), Milicia excels (mvule), Maesopsis eminii (musisi), among others. In 2007, Tree Talk collaborated with United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, on a pioneer nutrition project in Gulu and Kaberamaido districts, to establish fruit orchards in over 30 schools on 247 acres and planting of 130,000 fruit seedlings. Tree Talk has trained over 1,200 teachers to manage trees in schools. Tree Talk magazine has been an important reference material for tree growing, and the nurseries have been demonstration/laboratories for schools in support of teaching science subjects. In addition, people who received messages, guidance and information from Tree Talk’s communication initiatives have planted over 1 million trees. Recently, Tree Talk, in collaboration with EcoTrust, brokered a deal for carbon trading for 25 farmers in Lamwo and 31 in Adjumani districts. Farmers in this scheme are growing short-term rotation tree species (of up to 25 years) to sink 150 tonnes per hectare per farmer. In total, the farmers

will earn US$ 37,800 in credits. These initiatives by Tree Talk have gone a long way in contributing to a green economy for northern Uganda for present and future generations. Jonathan Kisakye is a Program Officer, Tree Talk Uganda Email: Gaster Kiyingi is the National Program Manager, Tree Talk Uganda Email:

The views expressed in Miti magazine are the writers’ and do not necessarily reflect the views of Better Globe or TQML. WRITE TO US We welcome feedback on any article you have read in Miti magazine, or on any issue on tree planting, afforestation and related matters. Please include your name, address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for clarity or space. We also invite you to send us any interesting photos you might have. Please send your contributions to: The Editor Miti magazine P.O. Box 823 – 00606 Nairobi, Kenya. Email: OR Miti magazine P.O. Box 22232 Kampala, Uganda. Email: Miti Magazine-Africa’s Tree Business Magazine

Miti July - September 2013

An untapped opportunity Trade in Prunus africana bark presents unique opportunities for wealth creation; it needs to be nurtured BY JOSHUA CHEBOIWO


n general, Prunus africana (red stinkwood, mueri, muiru, kiburabura, mwiritsa, tenduet, kumuturu) and Prunus crassifolia are the only African species in the genus Prunus. The two are wild relatives of plums (Prunus domestica), cherries (Prunus avium), peaches (Prunus persica), almonds (Prunus dulcis) and apricots (Prunus armeniaca). P. africana is an important multiple use species throughout its range, mostly for its bark and hard timber. Due to high demand for its products for commercial and traditional uses, the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) has identified Prunus for generic conservation. Subsequently, trade in P. africana products was placed under supervision of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) appendix I that requires export and import permits. This has been done to curb overexploitation that may have serious consequences not only in terms of habitat and genetic resource conservation, but also on the continuous availability of the species. The species is widespread in Africa, mostly in afromontane forests, mainly in Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Bioko Island - Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire and Zambia. It is a slow-growing species whose medicinal properties were reported by early white settlers in South Africa some 400 years ago.

Curative properties Modern scientific investigations have established that the powder extracted from the bark of P. africana provides relief from a swelling of the prostate gland and prevents the development of prostate cancer, a disease common in men above 60 years. The curative powers of P. africana were fully appreciated in the 1970s by pharmaceutical companies and commercial enterprises, and exploitation began in earnest. This led to indiscriminate harvesting, even of young trees. The demand was so high that unsustainable extraction methods, involving excessive debarking or felling and stripping of entire trees, were employed, threatening the species in its limited habitats.

Global trade in Prunus products Export reports indicate that the bulk of the commodity originates from Cameroon, with

Miti July - September 2013

smaller quantities from Kenya, Tanzania and Congo. By 1998, the annual Prunus bark export trade from Africa was estimated at between 3,200 to 4,900 tonnes as compared to 10 tonnes in 1976. It was projected to grow to 7,000 11,000 tonnes by 2018 as the populations of the North, the major market, age. A mature Prunus tree yields about 55-75 kg of bark. The over-the-counter P. africana products are estimated at US$ 220 million. The biggest consumers of P. africana bark are a French company - Groupe Fournier, an Italian Company - Inverni Della Beffa and Indena Spa of Spain. These are among the 14 western pharmaceutical companies that use ingredients from Prunus bark to make a number of traded medical brands.

utilisation of P. africana in Kenya. However, useful information on P. africana biology and utilisation is available from work done in Cameroon and, to a lesser extent, Madagascar. In Cameroon, harvesters selectively harvest bark from the largest trees available; and trees in moist sites have shown remarkable bark regrowth. However, in lower and drier forest margins, trees were attacked by woodborers. With lightdemanding species such as P. africana, disturbance normally leads to regeneration. Although there is no supporting study done in Kenya, it is expected that naturally occurring P. africana populations in various forest blocks exhibit similar biological behavioural patterns and respond similarly to harvesting pressure.

KENYAN EXPERIENCE An overview of Prunus conservation and harvesting

In Kenya, most standing P. africana trees are very old and widely scattered in the margins of the forests and open areas. The harvesting is limited to some small patches of bark removed from standing trees. This contrasts with other medicinal trees such as Zanthoxylum gillettii (African satinwood, muchagatha, sagawoitha, shikhoma) and Warbugia ugandensis (East African greenheart, muthaiga, moissot, omenyakige, abaki, osokonoi, soget) that were heavily debarked, indicating a high demand for

In Kenya, P. africana grows in the major forest blocks including the Aberdares, Mt Kenya, Mt Elgon, Cherangani Hills, Timboroa, Nandi Forests, Taita Hills, Chyulu Hills, Tugen and Nyiro (Marsabit) hills, Kakamega Forest and the Mau ranges. There are limited studies on ecological distribution, reproductive capacity, exploitation and

Bark harvesting and collection in Kenya


Young Prunus africana trees (about 2 years old) grown in an agroforestry setting in Nyeri, Central Province. In favourable conditions, the seedlings grow quite fast. (Photo: Francis Gachathi)

their bark by local people and herbalists. Forest officials and people adjacent to these forests indicated that there was minimal harvesting of P. africana bark in public forests. This may be attributed to the fact that most people in western Kenya are not yet aware of export markets for P. africana bark. In Mau Forest, Kenya Forestry Service (KFS) officials reported an increase in debarking of trees in 2000 and 2001, which has since ceased. Thus, the notion that P. africana is over-harvested or threatened is not supported by available information. In Katimok forest in Tugen Hills, some debarked fallen trees were found in the forest floor, indicating that some of the exported materials could have been sourced from there. On farms, the KFS survey revealed very few large P. africana trees retained, but the few planted were below 20 years. Most farmers reported to have planted the trees for

conservation or ornamental purposes. Most were not aware of the medicinal value of the species or any market for the bark. In Kakamega, one group attending an education forum reported that they had 50kg of P. africana bark harvested from their farms and were looking for buyers. This indicates some interest by local people to exploit P. africana bark for commercial purposes.

Sources for traded bark Data on trade of P. africana bark in Kenya is from official reports kept by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and CITES. The reports indicate that most of the bark exported from Kenya was collected from forest areas cleared for settlement. Other sources were areas cleared for extension of tea estates, and individual farms adjacent to the forests carrying out similar operations. The supply of bark was therefore irregular given that

Table 1: Forest areas where Prunus bark was collected Forest Block/Estate

Specific Areas

Kabarnet Forest

From die-offs in the forest and community land adjacent to the forest

Mau Forest

Kericho, Keringet, Olenguruoni and Elburgon areas

Ndondori Forest

On community land adjacent to the forest

Marmanet Forest

Around Nyandarua area

Nandi Forest

Both North and South Nandi forests

Kakamega Forest

Where tea estates are being extended and excised areas

Bahati Forest

Excised forest areas

Timboroa Forests

Excised forest areas

Mt. Elgon Forest

Slopes and excised areas

Mt. Kenya Forests

On the slopes

Source: CITES office at Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters, Nairobi


forest excisions and farm extensions are not done routinely. Table 1 shows a list of forests from where bark was collected.

Export markets for Prunus bark In Kenya, export of P. africana bark is reported to have been going on for about 20 years until 2003. Prior to the stoppage, Kenya was the main supplier to the French company Prosynthese, a subsidiary of the Fournier Group, supplying 60 per cent of their bark demand. Throughout the period, there was only one licensed agent. Reports available at KWS indicate that the exports rose from 100 tonnes in 1995 to peak at 450 tonnes in 1998/1999, and then fell to 50 tonnes by 2003. Kenya exported on average between 200 and 250 tonnes of dried bark annually during the period (Table 2). KWS sources indicate that on average, the exporter could have earned US$ 60 per kg of dry bark exported, translating to between Ksh 1.2 and 1.5 billion annually over the 20-year period. According to CITES records, 9 per cent of the bark imported from Kenya was re-exported to China and the USA, possibly at higher prices. The export licence for the only licensed operator was cancelled by KWS in 2003 at the instigation of the then Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources, on grounds of monopolistic tendencies and exploitation of the resource at the expense of the society.

Market chain for Prunus bark Reports indicate that the only licensed agent controlled the market completely. The agent’s team of bark harvesters did all the harvesting in identified forest areas. The only other people

Miti July - September 2013

Prunus bark exports to France between 1995 and 2003 450



reporting and monitoring has been inadequate because the species is traded in various forms. These include dried bark, bark extracts, herbal concoctions, capsules and tonics. This makes it difficult to measure in comparable official figures. The tree’s listing in CITES has helped in creating awareness on problems posed to it by the international trade. Currently several international, governmental and NGO bodies are involved in programmes to conserve, promote its cultivation and monitoring of trade in its products.

of Prunus stock expansion will lie in farm and private plantations and woodlots for commercial purposes. Farmers and the private sector should be encouraged to plant P. africana trees on their farms. In public forests where bark harvesting will be permitted, a regulatory framework should be put in place that may include the use of forest associations to collect and sell bark under stringent measures, to avoid depleting the trees. The export business should be based on special permit holders who source their bark from their own plantations, forest associations and out-growers schemes. The exporters should particularly commit to afforestation of agreed volumes on their own or leased land. Development of well-structured investorfriendly procedures for bark harvesting, transport and export. However, serious promotional work needs to be backed by rigorous cost-benefit analysis of P. africana plantations against competing crops. An analysis of the future markets for bark against competing remedies for prostate cancer is needed.

Conclusion and recommendations


Bark in metric tonnes

400 350 300



250 200

200 150 100


100 50



0 1995









Period involved were those hired to fell the trees and crosscut them into logs, and transporters to transport the bark to collection points in Subukia and Kambi Mawe. For de-barking the felled trees, the harvesters used special equipment and only involved the local people minimally. It is because of this closed system that the local people knew little about the trade and the market opportunities for Prunus bark.

Trade and export procedure The agent would get an authorisation letter to allow harvesting in designated farms and excised forest areas. He then moved the bark to a collection point, until he accumulated enough to allow for economic transportation to his home in Kambi Mawe for further drying and sorting. He obtained a movement permit from the nearest forestry office to enable him move the bark from collection points to Mombasa for shipment to France. In Mombasa, KWS would inspect the consignment and issue CITES’ export permit while the customs department would levy duty. Each permit was for 50 tonnes and would cost Ksh 2,000. According to the records at KWS, the licensed agent was issued with four to five permits per year before the ban in 2003. Exports from Kenya were purely unprocessed dry bark.

Policy and legal protection The only legal protection afforded to the species in major producing countries has been temporary banning of exports (Cameroon, Kenya and Madagascar), imposition of harvesting permits, restrictive quotas and harvesting guidelines (Cameroon). Since 1995, CITES has regulated the international trade in P. africana bark. The exporting country is required to demonstrate that their quotas have been set at levels that do not adversely affect the species. P. africana is one of the 18 top priority tree species identified for action in Africa by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). However,

Miti July - September 2013

On-going studies by KWS may recommend continuation of P. africana trade under a better structured sustainability and regulatory framework. This is because P. africana trees are found in appreciable quantities in the major forest blocks and farms in Kenya. In addition, there are thousands of trees of different ages on farmlands, compounds and avenues scattered in the highlands of Kenya. Studies have shown that cultivation of P. africana is easier than other forest trees because it seeds readily. Given the achievement in domestication and potential, P. africana bark trade presents unique opportunities for employment, wealth creation and foreign exchange earnings. However, to avoid failures of similar ventures as experienced in countries such as Cameroon, the following is recommended: A rigorous inventory on planted and naturally growing P. africana on farms, plantations and public forests. This is to provide information on the potential natural regeneration, selection of potential sites for harvesting and sustainable bark yields for drawing up of management plans for selected exploitation sites. Review the potential impact of trade and export of P. africana bark on the occurrence of the species and the potential to motivate commercial planting by various stakeholders. Modelling of optimal production procedures. This should include stocking levels, management procedures, rotations and financial returns to investments. The future

Cunningham, A. B. 1991. Development of a conservation policy on commercially exploited medicinal plants: a case study from southern Africa. In O. Akerele; V. Heywood; H. Synge (eds), Conservation of Medicinal Plants, pp. 337-358. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Cunningham, A.B. and Mbenkum, F.T. (1993). Sustainability of harvesting Prunus africana bark in Cameroon. People and Plants Working Paper, 2. UNESCO, Paris. Debat, J. 1966. Br. App., 25.893/66, June, 10. Kalkman, C. 1965. The Old World species of Prunus sub-genus Laurocerasus. Blumea, 13 (1), 33 35. Schippmann, U. (2001). Medicinal plants significant trade. CITES Projekt S - 109, Plants Committee Document PC9 9.1.3 (rev.). p. 51-58. BFN Scripten – 39, BFN- German Federal Agency for Nature conservation. Marshall, N.T. and Jenkins, M. 1994. Hard Times for Hardwood. Indigenous timber trade in Kenya. TRAFFIC International: Cambridge, UK.pp53 Achieng, J. (1999). African Medicinal Tree Threatened with Extinction http; sg/title/1903-cn.htm Dawson, I, Were, J and Lengkeek, A. (2000). Conservation of Prunus africana, an over exploited African Medicinal Tree. Forest Genetics Resources No. 28 The writer is Principal Research Officer, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Londiani Regional Research Centre. Email:


Borderline trade in timber The Kenyan and Tanzanian governments are losing millions through illegal cross-border trade in wood By MICHAEL GACHANJA


he most illegally traded commodity all over the world today is timber. Up to 30 per cent of the timber on global markets is considered illegal or potentially from illegal sources. Illegal logging and trade of illegal timber products costs governments around the world over US$ 10 billion in lost revenue that could be used for the benefit of the local population. Kenya and Tanzania are no exceptions. Kenya is importing large quantities of undeclared and therefore illegal timber from Tanzania and Malawi. This is contributing to loss of revenue for the Tanzania and Kenya governments. Anyone who has passed through the Namanga border will have seen the many lorries and trucks loaded with timber and parked at the “No Man’s Land”, every day, awaiting clearance. We are talking about this timber. What is saddening is that this goes on in the presence of law enforcement officers and custom officials on both sides of the border. Losses from this illegal trade are not shared equally: Tanzania is losing an estimated US$ 8.5 million per year in three of its most active border posts, with charcoal alone contributing

Figure 1: Map of Tanzania and Kenya indicating the location of Namanga, Taveta/Holili and Horohoro/ Lunga Lunga border points. Source: Adapted from Nations Online Project (2009) nearly US$ 4 million. Kenya, by virtue of being a net importer of timber products and because of tax exemption from all wood products, suffers minimal losses. The revenue loss is based on findings of work undertaken between April 2011 and June 2012 across three border points in Kenya and

Tanzania, namely Namanga, Holili/Taveta and Horohoro/Lunga Lunga (figure 1), by East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) in partnership with Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF). Support to the work came from the European Commission ACP Forest Law, Enforcement, Governance and Trade programme implemented

Since the “logging ban” silently evaporated, there is more production of pine timber in Kenya, although prices are still higher than in Tanzania. (Photo: Jan Vandenabeele)


Miti July - September 2013

These problems are linked to shortfalls in forest governance in terms of transparency, accountability and weak coordination among responsible authorities; conflicting laws; poor enforcement; failure of traders to comply with existing laws and regulations; and corruption. Development of a system to monitor illegal wood and wood products trade across the KenyaTanzania border points will be essential in addressing the extent of this illegal trade. To enhance collaboration and harmonisation of laws relating to control of the illegal wood and wood products trade, development of a comprehensive memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Kenya and Tanzania is advisable. This would facilitate information sharing and standardisation of data, as well as promotion of transparency and accountability in wood and wood products trade, harmonisation and regulation of laws, policies and procedures. It is also worth looking at how the ecosystem around border areas is impacted by cross-border trade in illegal wood and wood products. This is especially so where harvesting of wood for charcoal - whose source is not clearly stated at border points – is occurring. These proposals will form a platform to develop a monitoring system as a mechanism for tracking and reducing the illegal cross-border trade in wood and wood products between Kenya and Tanzania. by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). These findings are contained in a recent publication, The Trade in Forest Products Between Kenya and Tanzania. The report is aimed at providing decisionmakers in the two countries with information on the scale and magnitude of illegal trade, in order to improve forest governance and address transparency and accountability at border points. In order of importance, timber, paper, poles, charcoal, furniture, woodcarvings and firewood are identified as the main wood products traded across the three border points, with more exports coming from Tanzania into Kenya than vice versa. The revenue losses are mainly attributed to under-estimation and valuation of traded products in volumes and number of loaded consignments and unrecorded trade. The Tanzania Government revenue loss at the Namanga border point through under-estimation of volume and consignments is US$ 2.4 million and US$ 1.8 million annually, respectively. The estimated loss of timber imported from Tanzania without documentation is US$ 13,619 annually. The total revenue loss per year arising from the above illegal activities in the three border points is US$ 4.2 million. The estimated loss per year through illegal charcoal business at

Miti July - September 2013

the three border points is US$ 4 million for the Tanzania Government and US$ 28,000 for the Kenya Government. The estimated revenue loss per year through illegal woodcarving business is US$ 160,700 for Tanzania and US$ 12,000 for Kenya.

The writer is the Executive Director, East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) Email:


Growing trees for a better future TIST assists small farmers to join the international carbon credit market By JEFFREY ARONSON


ong-term tree growing is important to the economic development of African countries. This has been the message of national and regional forestry services, NGOs, and private timber companies for long. What if their message could become part of the social fabric of the small farmer in their countries? The challenges confronting successful, small-scale farming in East Africa are well known, but agriculture experts have also developed many strategies to enhance soil fertility and productivity. One well-understood challenge involved the deforestation that occurred as farmers cleared land for planting, only to discover that the loss of trees increased soil aridity, inevitably resulting in the loss of topsoil through drying winds and erosion. If farmers could receive an economic benefit from growing, not cutting trees, perhaps they would change their agricultural practices. TIST - The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program – has encouraged these changes by providing pre-payments of carbon credit sales to over 60,300 farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. These farmers have embraced raising small groves of trees on their individual farms while organising themselves democratically, to assure sustainability of their new income streams. The TIST collaborative leadership structure and transparent, technologically-savvy data collection have enabled it to achieve a firstin-the-world validation and verification of TIST Carbon Credits under both the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance and the Verified Carbon Standard.


TIST has recognised the benefits of smallgroup, highly local connections to share practical information to farmers, their families and their communities and making trees a new cash crop for farmers. By carefully measuring the growth and survival of the new trees, Clean Air Action Corporation has promoted the small groves of trees as a form of carbon sequestration and thus a new income stream for local farmers. The key to TIST’s success lies with the centrality of its value structure. The TIST values embrace individual honesty, accurate and transparent information, members acting as servants to each other and mutual accountability. TIST farmers volunteer their services, work collaboratively in teams, build the capacity for growth among themselves and other members, and foster the use of best agricultural and business practices. The responsibility for assuring implementation of the entire programme rests in the small group concept. A Small Group is: Focused (only 6-12 farmers per group) Extremely local (all members live and work within walking distance of each other) Openly collaborative (members select their leaders and representatives) Fiscally prudent (TIST owns no buildings or vehicles), and Completely transparent (all tree growth information is available online to everyone). TIST could not succeed if it were not for the hard work and collaborative leadership shown by its participants. The Small Groups create Clusters of about 40 Small Groups, which meet monthly to share information, run trainings, receive payments for their tree results, and to discuss

how TIST can meet more of the needs of their community. TIST Clusters send representatives to Groups of Cluster Councils, Regional Councils and a national Leadership Council, led by a Kitimoto (hot seat) and a Co-Kitimoto. At all levels, leadership positions always include equal numbers of men and women and leaders do not hold office for more than six months. These positions are always filled from within the groups and rotate often so as to build capacity and knowledge. The regular gatherings of Small Groups and Clusters, the dissemination of monthly newsletters printed in six languages, the realtime data and information on the TIST website ( assure the constant flow of information on best agricultural practices, personal and community health information, and the activities and decisions of the Leadership Council. As will be detailed in our next article, TIST uses wireless and internet technology, employed by farmer-auditors, to assure verification of its tree inventory and a continuous income for its members. TIST’s results to date are impressive; its 60,300 farmers now hold 10,627,291 inventoried trees in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, with another 2,300,845 seedlings planted for future growth. Through their forestry efforts, these farmers help assure a better future for themselves and their families. The writer is a volunteer for TIST who lives in the USA Email:

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Changing lives through small groups How TIST is doing it - examples from a village in Tharaka Nithi BY JAN VANDENABEELE


armers form TIST Small Groups. The Small Groups plant trees. Trees create carbon credits. Carbon credits are sold. Farmers make money. The idea is straightforward -- the results are remarkable.” The above is an extract from a document on the Internet, describing the activities of The International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme (TIST). To see in practice the work that TIST is doing in a challenging environment, Miti travelled to Karou village, Nkondi sublocation, Nkondi location and division in Tharaka South District of Tharaka Nithi County. Situated 740 – 750 metres above sea level, in a semi-humid to semi-arid agro-climatic zone, Karou village is close to the boundary with Meru County. Although rainfall is relatively low at 600 - 1100mm annually, ground water is nearby and shallow wells can tap it at a depth of 3 to 6 metres, depending on the season. This underground flow of water, that comes from rivers flowing down from the Mt Kenya area

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towards the east and joining Tana River at the eastern boundary of the Tharaka Nithi County, offers relief in an otherwise unforgiving climate. It is hot. Land here sells at Ksh 300,000 per acre. Compare this to other dry areas, for example, Masongaleni, Kibwezi District, where land sells at Ksh 30,000 an acre, while the area around Embu town sells at Ksh 700,000 per acre.

TIST and its entry into the community The Miti team met representatives of several small groups of the local cluster. The groups became involved with TIST in September October 2007. This came about after one of the area’s social entrepreneurs based in Meru requested the Provincial Administration and the Forest Department to bring the programme to Tharaka. The two arms of government wrote a letter of invitation to TIST. A public meeting was organised for farmers, at which TIST members could explain the concept. Afterwards, the farmers registered.

The Greenhouse Gas Contract Farmers become members of small groups, growing into clusters, and sign a “Greenhouse Gas Contract”. This means that the farmers can participate in the carbon business. The contract carries responsibilities such as the obligation to plant trees, and to allow a quantifier to count and measure them. For measuring, trees must be older than six months so that their circumference at 1.5m height can be taken. This information, together with the name of the farmer and his/her group, the tree age and species, is entered into a palmtop computer and immediately sent to a central server where the data is stored. A calculation is made on the volume of the tree, according to an agreed universal formula (one for eucalypts, another for other species), which in turn is used to approximate the amount of carbon sequestered in the tree. Quantifiers play a crucial role in the process. They are paid as independent contractors, and they are audited for accuracy of their data. If


the accuracy is within 5 per cent of a control sample, they receive their payment and an 80 per cent bonus. The control sample is a complete measurement of 5 - 6 randomly chosen tree groves in a cluster. In addition, the members have to right to check on the tree counting. Apart from general services that tree planting gives to the farmers, such as improvement of microclimate, soil conservation, general amenities like shade, and future tree products, farmers are also given an incentive of a carbon pre-payment of Ksh 1.50 - 1.80 per tree per year. This is paid until breaking even with the income from carbon, which is bought as carbon credits at approximately US$ 7 per tonne. The break-even is expected at about eight years of tree age, when the tree has stored enough carbon. Apart from the initial advance payments, the other expenses that TIST incurs are payment of the auditors, the publication of TIST’s magazine Mazingira Bora and other small expenses. The organisation strives to keep expenses and overheads to a minimum. Seventy per cent of the net revenue (income from carbon credits minus programme expenses) is paid to the tree owner, and 30 per cent to Clean Air Action Corporation (CAAC) an American company, which uses the money to repay advances and for further expansion of the TIST scheme. Another important clause in the contract concerns the future management of the trees. It is clear that if a tree is cut and used for firewood, it does not store carbon. To regulate this, members can use “best silvicultural practices” of thinning, and can fell trees after 10 years of growth, observing the restriction that only a maximum of 5 per cent of trees can be felled on a yearly basis. The tree grove must continue to exist as such, with a minimum of 30 years, to ensure sustainability and permanent sequestering. The complete TIST intervention has five technical components, namely:


Tree planting: This is centred on the Greenhouse Gas Contract. Members can chose the tree species, depending on the products they desire – whether it is fruit, fodder or timber - and obviously depending on what is ecologically possible. Members establish small nurseries and grow Mangifera indica (mango trees), Psidium guajava (guava trees), Azadirachta indica (neem), Cassia spectabilis (mhomba) C. siamea (ikengeta, ndek owinu), Artocarpus heterophyllus (jackfruit, mfenesi), Annona muricata (custard apple, mutomoko). They also grow other indigenous species like Kigelia africana (the sausage tree, muratina), Markhamia lutea (muu, siala), Croton megalocarpus (mukinduri, masineitet) and others. Members plant the trees at a minimum spacing 2 x 2 metres, but this can go up to 3 and 4 metres. Conservation agriculture, to enhance food security. To counter low maize yields in this rain-scarce area, group members have learnt to use minimum tillage practices to save on water. One of the group members, John Mutegi, recounts that on a ¼-acre plot of maize, he harvested four 90kg bags of maize. This is equivalent to 3.6 tonnes per hectare, which is a good yield. Mr Mutegi said this was more than double what he would get if he did not use conservation agriculture. The technique was developed by FAO, and involves making pits 15cm wide, 35cm long and 15cm deep, and mixing one or two kilograms of manure with the top soil. The pits are all aligned in rows (see drawing and photo), with the soil from the pits forming a bund between two rows. The pits can be used for three seasons, and for other crops like green grams, cowpeas, sweet potatoes, sorghum, kale (sukuma wiki) and tomatoes. The technique stops soil erosion, and each pit acts like a small water pan, uniquely rain-fed.

Introduction of energy saving stoves. These mud stoves come with a chimney to eliminate smoke and the health hazards that come with smoke. German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) provided the initial training, with the aim of reducing tree cutting. Seed bulking, notably of green grams (mung beans, Vigna radiata), a project that started in 2012. Five farmers per cluster each receive 5kg of certified seeds (variety N26), and after harvesting, they give 5kg to two more farmers. The objective is to have many farmers joining the project, and to bulk up the harvest for obtaining a better market. The farmers receive training on marketing. Riparian tree planting. Members are encouraged not to plant crops within 30 metres of rivers and streams, as stipulated by Kenyan law. Instead, they are urged to plant indigenous tree species. They plant Prunus africana (red stinkwood, muiri, kumuturu), Albizia gummifera (mchani mbao, mukurue), Ficus sycomorus (sycamore fig, mkuyu), Newtonia hildebrandtii (mukame), Warburgia ugandensis (African greenheart, muthiga), Acacia xanthophloea (yellow-barked acacia) and others.

Impact on the local community Questioned on the impact the TIST intervention has had on their lives, the farmers mentioned the following: People have planted more trees. There are more earnings from the sale of mangoes than before. People are earning from honey through bee keeping. Healthier living from using mud stoves. Higher production of green grams. Creation of some employment. The writer is the Executive Director, Better Globe Forestry Email:

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Great timber on our doorstep Teak, which produces high value tropical timber, can be grown successfully in northern Uganda BY WALTER MAPANDA


eak (Tectona grandis) is recognised worldwide for its excellent wood properties, which make it suitable for a range of uses. The ancestral home of teak is Myanmar (formerly Burma), India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Unrestrained clearing of natural teak forest in Asia has led to teak plantation development outside Asia. As far back as 1858, teak plantations were shown to be economically feasible. The plantations were at the time located in countries of teak origin, especially Myanmar. In Africa, Nigeria was the first country to establish a teak plantation in 1902. It was followed by Ghana in 1905 then Ivory Coast in 1929. Teak has also been introduced in other West African countries such as Benin, Guinea, Senegal and Togo. In East Africa, teak is grown in Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. In places where optimum site-species matching is done for teak plantations, they are normally very profitable. If maintained properly, a hectare of teak can gross more than US$ 250,000 in 20 years. Generally, plantation establishment and maintenance costs are projected at approximately US$ 17,000 per hectare over 20 years (United Teak, 2007). Therefore, investment requirements for teak establishment and maintenance are generally low in relation to the revenue realised through thinnings and final harvest. However, teak requires more intensive silviculture than pine and eucalyptus and there are serious social, economic and environmental

considerations to take into account when proposing establishment of a teak plantation. Teak monoculture plantations are susceptible to defoliating pests, especially when undergrowth is suppressed and site conditions are not optimal. In addition, genetically superior planting stock is scarce and poor standards of post-planting care operations (slashing, chemical and manual weeding) have adversely affected the productivity of teak plantations in the world. In Uganda, information on teak site-species matching, establishment, fertiliser application, response to weeds, thinning and pruning is out-dated, scarce and scattered.

Precious wood Teak wood has unique properties. Its sapwood is pale yellow-brown to cream or ivory in colour, while the heartwood is a dark golden-yellow when fresh and turns to a dark golden-brown with exposure. With prolonged exposure to the weather, the colour lightens. The grain is generally straight and the texture is moderately coarse and uneven due to the presence of growth rings. When seasoned, teak weighs approximately a tonne per 1.5 cubic metres. Teak is a slow-growing tree so its timber is denser and heavier than that from other timber species. Density is approximately 670 kilogrammes per cubic metre at 12 per cent moisture content. Teak can be kiln-dried easily and its degradation is minimal. It also air-seasons very well and has little tendency to split or warp. Air seasoning of teak is slow but once seasoned, the timber is exceptionally stable and has a low co-efficient of expansion

and contraction under changes of atmospheric temperature and humidity. Teak is highly resistant to termites and marine borers. The wood has a distinct oily feel, which makes it water, acid and fire resistant. The durability of teak wood comes from a variety of natural reasons including high oil content and silica. The oily resins, called tectoquinones, naturally repel termites and resist rot. The silica content makes it difficult for marine borers to damage the timber. It is also resistant to decay when fully exposed to the weather, clear off the ground, with free air circulation. Despite having a high silica content and an oily feel when wet, the dry wood glues well. The timber works easily both with hand and machine tools and it takes both nails and screws fairly well.

Uses Teak has outstanding wood properties. As such, it is used for a number of construction functions including flooring, decking, deckhouses, rails, hatches, weather doors, planking, cladding, fasciae and bargeboards. It has decorative applications such as lining, panelling, turnery, carving, outdoor and indoor (cabinetwork, sleepers) furniture and parquetry. Teak is also highly priced as a boat and shipbuilding timber.

Silviculture of teak Traditionally, site quality for teak plantations is assessed by the top height of trees (average height of 100 largest dominant trees per hectare). Pandey 1966, cited in Panama Forestry, 2006,

Table 1: Site factors important for growing teak Altitude (m)


Rainfall (mm)

Temp ( OC)

Effective rooting depth (mm)

Less than 1000

Teak is very resistant

1250 to 3750

13 to 40

More than 800

Teak grows and develops well in low attitude, high rainfall areas and in climates that have a three to four months dry season with less than 60mm precipitation. The hotter and wetter the better. The species favours sites with very deep soils. Source: Kaosa-ard, 1981 cited in Panama Forestry. (2006)

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stated that the potential productivity of teak plantations at global or regional levels could be predicted from climatic factors. Pandey further argued that climatic variables explain 59 per cent of the variance of the potential yield of teak plantations. Pandey concluded that relative humidity and annual rainfall are the most important climatic factors influencing the growth of teak. Table 2: Response of teak to specific soil factors pH

Waterlogged or clay

Shallow and compacted

Iron and aluminium rich soils (laterite soils)

Fertile, well drained, calcium rich soils


Very poor

Very poor

Very poor

Very good

Teak thrives best in soils that are neutral or slightly alkaline. Soils that are rich in iron and aluminium lead to stunted teak growth. It takes well to calcium-rich soils. Source: White 1991 & Kadambi 1972 cited Robertson B. (2002)

Table 3 shows the resistance of teak to other important site factors. Table 3: Resistance of teak to other site factors Fire Very resistant from 4 years




Very high

Very high

Very high

Poorly sited teak is often prone to attack by defoliators. On best sites where teak grows vigorously, attack by defoliators is less frequent and less intense. Source: White 1991 & Kadambi 1972 cited Robertson B. (2002)

Given the proper conditions, plantation teak can be grown without artificial fertilisers or irrigation. This is thought to give it the look and durability of old growth teak from Southeast Asia (Wikipedia, 2011). Table 4: Mean annual inreament (MAI) MAI in young plantations Country MAI (m3/ha) Tanzania 13 - 17 Bangladesh 7.4 China 10.4 Ivory coast 16.0 Indonesia 5.8 Sri Lanka 9.6 - 11 Thailand 13.5 Source: Gurmartine Tini. (2010)

Yield tables developed for Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast and Nigeria show an early peak of mean annual increment which is generally between six and nine years (Panama Forestry, 2006). Similar studies in Trinidad showed that the maximum value for the MAI occurs between 7 and 12 years (Miller, 1969 and Fonseca, 2004 cited in William Ladrach, 2009). The graphs below show this pattern: Fig1: Mean Annual Increment of teak plantations in Trinidad

Figure 2 Source: William Ladrach (2009)

Figure 1 shows that teak trees grow fastest in the early years of


development. It also shows that good growth depends on site quality. Teak plantations require more weeding, pruning and thinning than pine and eucalypt plantations. For economic reasons, a planting spacing of 3 x 3 m is recommended. This spacing provides a balance between site utilisation and weeding cost. All thinnings are commercially important. Income from thinnings can offset the cost of land clearing and thinning operations themselves, which are the two most expensive maintenance activities. Pruning requirements may be reduced by planting stock from other provenances, which have smaller and fewer branches.

Prospects of developing teak plantations in Uganda In Uganda, natural forests have been and are encroached upon without replenishment. The depletion of the hardwood stocks is faster than the regeneration and this creates an increased demand on natural forest timbers. Teak is an ideal hardwood species for planting in suitable parts of Uganda. For example, Kitgum, Moyo, Yumbe, Koboko, Arua and Gulu in northern Uganda have ideal conditions for teak growth. Teak is easy to regenerate and manage in plantations and its timber fetches high prices on the international market as shown in the table below. Table 5: Teak timber prices Year 1987 1989 2010

Price (US$) 469 614 650

Source: Teak Futures. (2011)

Increased yield and higher uniformity are the key incentives for developing intensively managed teak plantations in Uganda. Ugandans will need to go through a very intensive learning phase on the science and practice of teak silviculture. In young teak plantations, the proportion of sapwood is quite large. However, the sapwood proportion in old growth teak is small since trees will be growing slowly by then. The challenge for Ugandan teak growers would be to maximise the diameter of the tree as well as diameter of the higher value heartwood.

Investment risk There are many risk factors to consider when planning to invest in a commercial teak plantation. The risk is influenced greatly by the quality of

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Table 6: Risks in teak plantation development Factor

Level of risk

Risk reduction measure

Low risk

High risk

More than 1200mm

Less than 1000mm

Correct site-species matching


Well drained, fertile alluvial soils

Shallow with impeding layer near surface. Poorly drained.

Correct site-species matching

Size of area

More than 20 hectares

Less than 10 hectares

Implement a good management strategy

Distance to market

Less than 100 kilometres

More than 150 kilometres

Grow a high quality high value product by carrying out adequate thinning and pruning operations


Joint venture


Apply for a tree planting grant

Plantation design

Block planting

Narrow belt planting

Buy nearby properties and consolidate into one big block and acquire the necessary training from Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS)

Crop failure due to poor planting techniques

Planting carried out by experienced owner or contractor using best operating practices (BOP)

Planting carried out by inexperienced owner or contractor in very harsh weather conditions

Employ the right people for the job


Joint venture co-operative


Communicate with potential buyers before planting and market products as clusters and not individual


Correctly prepared fire guards, fire roads, burnt power lines, burnt open areas, burnt perimeter of residential areas, fire sporting and response system in place

Lack of fire preparedness and lack of coordinated systems to respond to fires

Prepare for fire season and join a local fire association. Greatest risk is before plantations turn three years. The biggest threat is in the first year dry season. Do spot weeding, a 1-metre diameter ring up to third year.

Pest and diseases

Stands at the right density appropriately managed (timely thinnings and prunings)

Stand neglected and poor site species matching

Correct site-species matching and apply scientifically determined management regimes


Rainfall intensity, frequency and amount predictable

Rainfall unpredictable

Correct site-species matching


Plantation surrounded by other plantations

Plantation surrounded by community homesteads

Domestic animals must be guarded during grazing when plantation is still less than three years


Site not susceptible to strong winds

Site susceptible to strong winds

Correct site-species matching


Source: United Teak, 2007 and van de Hoef Lyn. (2003)

management and environmental conditions of the site. Table 6 suggests a few of these risks. It shows that good site planning and implementation of best silvicultural management practices can prevent most risks.

Conclusion Teak has gained worldwide reputation for its flexibility in use for outdoor and indoor furniture and for building structures. Its properties include strength with lightness, durability, dimensional stability, chemical stability, ease of working and seasoning, termite, fungus and weather resistance and attractiveness. Demand for wood is likely to prompt the establishment of teak plantations in Uganda. Teak is known to perform well under intensive plantation management regimes such as thinning and pruning. In Uganda, no data is available for teak timber produced under intensive silviculture practices. There is need for centralised field inspections and growth monitoring systems to assess the conditions of the crop so as to schedule maintenance operations such as pruning and thinning. Undoubtedly, teak is the undisputed leader of high value tropical timbers. It is always referred to as the standard timber for comparative evaluation of quality and utilisation potential of other tropical timbers.

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References: Bekker, Chris; Rance, Warren; and Monteuuis, Olivier. (2004) Teak in Tanzania: II. The Kilombero Valley Teak Company, Bois Et Forets Des Tropiques, N0 297 (1). Teak Futures. (2011) Teak-(Tectona grandis), Chacko, K.C. (1998) Silvicultural problems in management of teak plantations in Teak for the Future - Proceedings of the Second Regional Seminar on Teak, Dharmasarn Co. Ltd. Bangkok. Gurmartine. Tini. (2010) Tree factsheet, Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Wagningen University, Monteuuis, Olivier and Goh, Doreen, K. S. (1999) About the Use of clones in Teak, Bois Et Forets Des Tropiques, N0 261(3). Panama Forestry. (2006) General Info on Teak, information/Teak_Plantations.htm. Robertson, B. (2002) Growing Teak in the Top End of the NT, Department of Resources - Primary Industry, in Agdex No: 346/20. Teak-Teca. (2011) Natural teak forests and Plantation Teak management, www.teak-teca. com/.../Natural-teak-forests-and-Plantation-Teak-management. United Teak. (2007) Risk Factors, Van de Hoef Lyn. (2003) Radiata pine: Planning and establishment. Wikipedia. (2011) Plantation Teak, Ladrach, William. (2009) Management of Teak Plantations for Solid Wood products, ISTF News, Special Report, Maryland, USA.

The writer is the Plantation Advisor, Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS) Email:


Towards healthy fruit trees

HCDA encourages farmers to plant certified seedlings to avoid disease and pests BY JOSEPHINE SIMIYU


he Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) is a government parastatal under the Ministry of Agriculture mandated to regulate, develop, promote, co-ordinate and facilitate a commercially oriented horticulture industry in Kenya. HCDA registers horticultural produce dealers and nursery operators, and conducts farm and pack house inspection to ensure compliance to Good Agricultural Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices. These services are delivered in 21 stations and depots in the country. According to the HCDA legal notice 219 of 2011, all nursery operators are required to be registered by HCDA and certified by the Kenya Plant Health Inspection Service (KEPHIS). Regulation of production of clean planting material was initially not covered adequately by the Seed and Plant Varieties Act Cap 326. This changed in 1989 through the Horticultural Crops Development Authority Order (Fruit Tree Nurseries), 1989, Legal Notice No. 252. This in turn was amended in 1995 under Legal Notice No. 232 and again in 2011 under legal notice 219, requiring all commercial fruit tree nurseries and mother blocks to be registered. Mother blocks are orchards where scions (buds used for grafting) are obtained. This new regulation was deemed necessary because of outbreaks of disease and pests in farmer’s orchards planted with seedlings from unregulated fruit tree nurseries. The transmission of diseases to farmers’ orchards is of great concern because it either lowers production, as in the case of banana weevil and nematodes in bananas; or leads to total loss as is the case of the citrus greening disease, which is incurable and can wipe out whole orchards.


Food and income Fruit trees are important to growers and homeowners because they provide shade, food and income, and are useful for their aesthetic and medicinal properties. Of concern to the horticultural industries are fruit trees that are propagated for sale to growers. Fruits that are in high demand both in the local and export market include Mangoes – Apple, Ngowe, Florida varieties like Tommy Atkins, Kent, Keitt and Haden. Avocado – Hass and Fuerte Passion fruit – Purple/ grafted on yellow Pawpaw – Solo, Kapo and Sunrise Macadamia nuts Fruit trees are long-term crops therefore farmers need to plant true-to-type varieties, disease-free and well adapted to the area in which they will be planted. Low altitude fruit trees include citrus, mangoes and pawpaws, while high altitude fruit trees include apples, avocadoes and macadamia nuts. Certification thus ensures that seedlings are raised at appropriate altitudes. Registration The objective of certification and registration is to: Organise and regulate the nursery operators

Train the operators on nursery management and update them on legal requirements Define the nursery standards and management practices Monitor quality of planting materials (true-totype, disease and pest-free) sold to farmers and be able to track the source of diseased planting material. Before registration, nurseries are inspected to assess the suitability of the site for a fruit tree nursery. The inspector has to be satisfied that the nursery operator has adequate knowledge in nursery management and horticultural techniques and will procure rootstocks and scions from registered mother blocks. The registration fee is Ksh 500, renewable annually. The minimum requirements for a nursery site are: Should be flat or with little slope and sheltered from the sun Should have light, well-drained soils Water availability throughout the year Isolated from orchards Free of pests and diseases Easy access to buyers Fenced Passion fruit seedlings should be propagated under an insect-proof net to prevent entry of

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aphids and thrips, which are vectors of viruses. In order to have disease-free seedlings, one needs to observe the following: The nursery should not be established on land previously under fruit. These lands are known to harbour pests and diseases, which are detrimental to seedlings in the nursery. Citrus should not be raised on an altitude of more than 800 metres above sea level (masl) because of prevalence of the citrus psyllid, a vector of the greening disease. Budding/grafting equipment should be sterilised to prevent cross contamination while conducting grafting operations. Use mulch and avoid excessive watering. Excessive watering can result in waterlogging. Use only recommended rootstocks that are resistant to diseases and well adapted to local soils. Contact the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) for advice on the best rootstocks for your seedlings. Scout nursery regularly for any sign of pest or disease. Sterilise soils to guard against soil-borne pests and pathogens like nematodes. Follow guidelines by regulatory institutions (HCDA, KEPHIS etc.) Along with certification, certain restrictions are imposed on the movement and sale of seedlings of fruit trees from one part of the country to another. This is done in order to control the transmission of diseases. A nursery operator must have a plant health certificate from KEPHIS to move seedlings from one region to another. In addition, certified planting material, which might not have been

distributed during the certification period, should be re-certified every six months. An accurate record should be maintained of the distributed planting material indicating the buyer’s name, district, location, sub-location, postal address and varieties purchased. However, HCDA’s low staffing levels and lack of awareness by farmers for this provision have hampered the enforcement of this legislation. Illegal to operate without certificate It is illegal to operate a fruit tree nursery without

a certificate. Therefore, farmers are discouraged from purchasing from uncertified operators as their seedlings may be infected. Where HCDA establishes that one is contravening the provisions set out in the HCDA orders, their certificate is revoked. Such nursery operators may re-apply for registration after two years. For more information on the location of a nursery near your area, contact the Managing Director of HCDA at, call (020) 359 7356 or use the link downloads/NATIONAL According to the website, the number of HCDA-certified nurseries per area is as follows: Area


























The writer is a Horticultural Officer, HCDA. Email:

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Striving to reduce costs

KTDA faces challenges in efforts to switch to wood fuel for curing tea BY GEORGE OSELU


he Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) initiated a wood fuel project in 1992. A tripartite taskforce was formed between the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources - Forest Department, the Permanent Presidential Commission on Soil Conservation and Afforestation and KTDA. The taskforce identified forestlands where tea factories could establish eucalyptus plantations. Eucalyptus was the crop of choice because of the high calorific value1 of its wood, its fast growth and its coppicing abilities. The objective was to introduce wood fuel to all or nearly all of the KTDA managed factories. The project centred on Eucalyptus grandis and GC 2 clones. In 1994, a proposal was made to introduce the wood fuel project to all the tea factories and submitted to the government for consideration and allocation of forestland to KTDA. Under the proposal, the Forest Department and KTDA were to enter into a memorandum of understanding whereby KTDA was to lease government land to establish its own eucalyptus plantations. However, this did not happen. Calorific values give the heat wood can produce when burned, and are expressed in joule (J) or kilojoule (KJ) per gram or volume unit of wood. For E. camaldulensis – E. grandis, the calorific value ranges between 4.5 and 4.8 KJ/g, which is generally higher than other species (e.g. Commiphoras 4.4 - 4.8 KJ/g). Acacias also rate high (4.4-4.9 KJ/g). 1

GC stands for E.grandis and E. camaldulensis, hybrids that combine the fast growth rate and straightness of the former, and the drought-resistance of the latter.



The need It costs about Ksh 28 to cure 1 kilogram of tea using furnace oil, and Ksh 4 using wood. KTDA manages 65 factories. If all these were run entirely on furnace oil, the total annual bill would be Ksh 5.67 billion. If the factories would run exclusively on wood fuel, the bill would be reduced to Ksh 975 million per annum. This represents a saving of Ksh 4.7 billion per annum, which would eventually trickle down to the small-scale farmer.

Current situation Attracted by this perspective, a number of tea factories have ventured into the wood fuel project by acquiring multi-purpose boilers, and started to purchase wood directly from the

local communities. The major drawback to this type of arrangement is that future sustainability of firewood cannot be guaranteed and some factories may revert to furnace oil, yet the cost of oil is continuously rising. KTDA’s factories have an estimated annual fuel wood consumption of 1 million cubic metres. Currently, 95 per cent of this firewood is sourced within the catchment of the factories, but this supply is not sustainable. The total land requirement for sustainable wood fuel supplies for a factory with a capacity of 15 million green leaves per annum is estimated at 250 - 350 hectares. This takes into account complete running on wood, and no further use of furnace oil, for a three-line factory. So far, no factory has managed to get

Table 1: Current wood fuel development land status Region


Areas (hectares) Target


Muranga, Kiambu







Nyeri, Muranga, Kirinyaga





Embu, Kirinyaga





Tharaka Nithi, Meru





Kericho, Bomet





Kisii, Nyamira





Nandi, Trans-Nzoia, Vihiga Total Total %










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Tea factories buy large quantities of eucalyptus firewood from smallholders. (Photo: BGF)

its minimal land requirements, although some have been operating on wood fuel fully through open market operations, which is not sustainable. Tableb 1 gives the current status regarding land acquisition and development.

Challenges KTDA faces a number of challenges in developing a sustainable supply of fuel wood. Some of these are: Availability of suitable land within reasonable distance from the factories. The emphasis here is on “suitable” as sometimes land is acquired in areas marginal to the growth of the clones, with periodic drought affecting the growth of the trees, and stressing them. High cost of land procurement, plantation establishment and maintenance. High cost of labour and / or shortage of labour. Destruction of trees by fire and termites. This is related to poor management and supervision in some of the projects, which sometimes may be due to lack of proper technical advice by government foresters on implementation and management of some projects. Hostility from some neighbours. Occurrence of pests and diseases, notably the invasion of the winter bronze bug (Thaumastocoris peregrinus) that has been ravaging GC clones in some projects in marginal, drought-prone areas.

Conclusions and recommendations

KTDA would welcome a government policy with proper technical guidelines on the growing of GC clones, and adequate research by KEFRI on combating pests and diseases. KTDA would also welcome research on

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alternative tree species suitable for firewood and charcoal. Incentives need to be offered to the private sector to grow trees to act as a buffer in case of losses, such as fires and pests. KFS needs to expedite on forest concessions, as the private sector is willing to engage in the undertaking.

Despite the setbacks, there is a huge potential in commercial forestry that should be tapped. Community forest associations can be involved, in keeping with the Forest Act 2005. The writer is a forest officer at KTDA Email:




Demonstration of thinning conversion using a portable sawmill (Wood Mizer) in Robert Bariiho's plantation (Photo: Miti)

It’s all about proper planning, says investor Tree grower is enthusiastic about the returns from commercial forestry Business executive Robert Bariiho talked to Diana Ahebwe, the Miti magazine Country Representative for Uganda. Below are excerpts from the interview:

I had put some of it under food crops but the returns where not good so I decided to invest in commercial tree planting.

Please tell us about yourself

I am naturally a fighter, and given any opportunity, I cannot fail in business as long as I have the resources and the workforce. I had 100 hectares of land in Mpigi district, which I converted into a pine plantation, although the seedlings I started with were of poor quality.

I am a businessman with a Bachelor of Science degree from Makerere University and a postgraduate diploma in education, although I have never practised my profession. I have always been business oriented so I joined Spear Motors group of companies in 1987 as a sales executive. I glided through until I became the General Manager of GM Tumpeco, one of the companies of Spear Motors. I was in that position until 2000 when I resigned and joined Arnold Brooklyn & Co Ltd - dealing in motor vehicle registry - from 2001 to date as General Manager.

What motivated you to go into tree growing? I came to know about commercial tree planting from a friend who obtained the information from the Internet. He detailed the economic returns to me and we discovered that the business had the highest returns globally. I then obtained information about SPGS (Sawlog Production Grant Scheme), a project that had just started in Uganda to support commercial tree planting. In addition, we had a lot of underutilised land.


How did you start?

When was this and why did you plant the particular species? I started tree planting as a business in 2004 and I planted Pinus oocarpa and Pinus caribaea because everyone was planting pine at that time. I did not know what species could grow well in the area, so I just bought a mixture of P. oocarpa and P. caribaea seedlings from an uncertified nursery and it all turned out to be a loss. In 2005, I joined SPGS as one of the pioneers to receive support. SPGS was promoting pine but this time from improved seeds. I considered the returns I would get after 15 years and decided to go for pine. Of late, I have planted eucalyptus clones because they have better economic returns as I can harvest some trees at five years and sell them as electricity transmission poles. These

are highly marketable in Uganda today. I refer to eucalyptus clones as “magic trees� because they offer very good returns. They can be harvested after just five years and if they are on a good site, they sprout after harvesting.

What are the ecological details of your planting area? I am planting in Mpigi and Mubende districts. These areas have two rainy seasons, the first during March to the beginning of May and the second in September to November. The other months are generally dry. Mpigi district receives a mean annual rainfall of 1320mm and has a minimum temperature of 110 centigrade while the maximum temperature recorded is 33.30 centigrade. Mubende district has an annual average rainfall of 1000 - 1250mm and medium annual temperatures ranging from 17.2 to 29o centigrade.

How many hectares have you planted in total? I first planted trees on 100 hectares in Mpigi in 2004. Then when I joined SPGS in 2005, I applied for a lease from NFA and I was given 500 hectares, which were part of the Central Forest Reserve in Mubende. I have so far planted trees on 400 hectares of the leased land of which 330 hectares are under Pinus caribaea and the rest under eucalyptus clones, and I am still planting clones.

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Where do you get seedlings? I raise pine seedlings from my own nursery at home in Buziga and acquire the clones from Kisaana Forestry Enterprises located in Mityana district, close to my plantation in Mubende. It is one of the biggest nurseries in the country with a capacity of 400,000 clone seedlings per season and it is certified by SPGS. I import pine seeds from Brazil and Australia through UTGA (Uganda Timber Growers Association) and SPGS, and as such, I am sure about the seed source and quality. I use the seedlings from my nursery for my own planting but when I am done with planting, I intend to start selling the seedlings.

How many people have you employed and what do they do? I have two plantations in different locations so I employ over 25 people as permanent staff for both plantations but the number can go up to 125 during the peak season when we are planting and maintaining. The employees include contractors, supervisors and managers. The people who work in the plantations come from different regions of the country and do not necessarily belong to the community adjacent to the plantations. I look for hard-working people who may not necessarily be skilled but can learn on the job.

What is your planting regime? I plant twice a year. I plant during the March April season. I extend the planting up to the first two weeks of May. During this season, I plant up to 80 hectares although it is straining financially to plant very many hectares in one season. The second season is in September - November with October being the peak. However, this season is always short and not reliable, so I plant 50 hectares only.

Robert Bariiho talking to participants of a field day organised by SPGS (Photo: Miti)

What is the key to your success in commercial forestry? Determination. Tree planting is a long-term venture and requires a lot of financing. The economic returns that await me after 15 years drive me to invest in forestry. I also received technical advice from SPGS and some financial support, although it is little compared to what I invest myself. Just like any other business, commercial forestry requires a lot of planning. Each activity in commercial forestry must be done at the correct time.

What do you plan to do with mature trees? Do you have any plans to increase the acreage under trees or to process the raw timber? I hope to harvest my trees, which are nine years old now, in five years. I would want to obtain a sawmilling machine to convert my trees into timber but this will depend on the market and the returns. I attempted to convert the second thinnings from the Mpigi plantation into timber but the logs were too small to be accepted in the market and I really burnt my fingers in the process. I generated many offcuts because the poles were not straight due to the poor seedlings that I had planted initially.

What other challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them? I have not encountered many challenges except finances and encroachers. There are always financial hiccups because I need money all the time. We have had a problem with encroachers because we are in a Central Forest Reserve. They first destroyed my young plantings so I had to deal with the challenge accordingly. I gave up some of my leased land to the encroachers and we involved both NFA and police for help. Encroachment has been one of the biggest challenges for people planting in the Forest Reserves until recently when the National Forestry Authority intervened and put a police post near my land. They evicted all the encroachers so now I am planting on the land that I had given up. The lack of technical knowledge was also a challenge, but I overcame this with the help of SPGS.

What advice would you give to investors in tree planting, especially those who have just started or are yet to start? First, you must have resources on a sustainable basis. In addition, to get good returns from commercial forestry, one needs to plant at least 100 hectares. Planning is very important in commercial forestry and so is technical advice because many who invest in forestry are not foresters. The seed source is also very important. Some of us have suffered major losses because of planting bad seed.

Do you have anything else to say?

Second thinnings extracted from Robert Bariiho’s plantation (Photo: Miti)

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Our government has not fully realised the importance of forestry. If the European Union and the Norwegian government can come in to support commercial forestry through SPGS, then why does our own government not take up the project after EU and Norway have pulled out? The government should also formulate better policies that would support greening our nation through tree planting.


Kitting out the hospitality industry

Mango Ltd provides furniture and interior accessories for homes, hotels and restaurants By WANJIRU CIIRA


he list of their corporate clients reads like a “Who is who” in the hospitality industry. It includes Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi; Kampala Serena Hotel; Serena Hotel Kigali; Holiday Inn, Nairobi; Sixeighty Hotel, Nairobi; Hilton Hotel, Nairobi; Sangare Tented Camps, Aberdares; Serena Mountain Village Lodge, Arusha; Green Hills Hotel, Nyeri, to mention just a few. As for clubs, Mango Ltd counts The Muthaiga Club, The Nairobi Club and The Kentmere Club, Tigoni as clients. The list of bars and restaurants is long and includes Pampa Grill Brazilian restaurants, in Nairobi and Mombasa; Klubhouse Two, Nairobi; Bottoms Up Nairobi; German Point, Village Market, Nairobi; Gipsys, Westlands - Nairobi and Tamambo Restaurant, Gigiri. Other clients are United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations and hospitals such as Nairobi and Kenyatta National as well as the Aga Khan Doctors’ Plaza. A number of universities and private schools also make the list of Mango’s clients. With such an impressive clientele, one would expect the company to be situated in spacious premises. But this is not so. Mango Ltd is tucked away in a corner of Factory Street, in Nairobi’s light Industrial Area. “We are squeezed for space,” says Managing Director Bryan Scriven. Mango Ltd was set up in 1988, with a single employee. Today, the company employs some 85 workers, including some 15 or so casual employees. The company is owned by Mr Scriven and Misheck Riungu. Mr Scriven, a British citizen, has over 30 years of experience in the furniture industry as designer, consultant and manufacturer. Mr Riungu is a Kenyan citizen and Financial Director of the company. Mango Ltd makes a complete range of wood, metal and fully-upholstered furniture. In the case of hotels, the company works with architects and designers to do a range of furniture. “We can do different restaurants – that is, tables, chairs, room dividers, waiter stations and so on,” says Mr Scriven. “At the Panari for instance, we have done the coffee shop, the lounge and the Brazilian restaurant.”


So, what sets Mango apart? “Our quality,” says Patrick Kimathi, the company’s Sales Manager. But quality is not easy to realise. “To achieve the kind of quality we require, we need a good supervisor.” And according to Mr Kimathi, good supervisors are not easy to come by. Mango Ltd has seen its share of ups and downs. When the company was set up in 1988, there was plenty of wood available in Kenya to make furniture. At the time, Mango used pine and cypress obtained locally from state plantations. Then bang; one day there was no more wood. “We went to bed one day, and woke up the next day and there was no wood,” says Mr Scriven. He is referring to the 1999 Presidential partial ban on logging in public forests.The ban was intended to conserve the country’s forests and regulate the operations of saw-millers who

had abused forest resources. Initially gazetted in October 1999 to last for three months, the ban was extended indefinitely in March 2000 through a cabinet decision. It covered all cutting in the forests including silvicultural thinnings, clear fells and sanitary cuttings to remove the diseased, dying and dead materials from spreading diseases in plantations. The aim of the ban was to stop the blanket destruction of Kenya’s trees and control the unsustainable harvesting of exotic plantation forests then prevailing. It also aimed at giving the Forest Department time to take stock of the existing wood resources in the country, and develop and adapt sustainable management practices and strategies. The ban initially covered all wood-based industries such as sawmilling, plywood and

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paper. However, Pan Paper Mills, Raiplywood, Timsales and Comply were later exempted from the ban due to their role in employment, value addition and contribution to the national economy in general. Up to the time of the ban, the wood industries in Kenya largely depended on short-rotation industrial plantation forests established by the Forest Service. The plantations also acted as a buffer to the natural indigenous forests, which are critical for water and biodiversity conservation and other services. The ban has had far-reaching implications in the Kenya timber and related industries. Not only did it create a timber scarcity, it also led to the closure of some 300 sawmills, and the loss of some 50,000 direct jobs and approximately 300,000 indirect ones. The logging ban affected Mango Ltd’s operations. From the situation in which the company used to obtain timber locally, today Mango uses mahogany wood imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and white oak1 from the Meru and Nyandarua areas of Kenya. On average, the company uses 4,200 board feet (9.91 m3) of mahogany and 4,600 board feet (10.85 m3) of white oak, per month. The company imports hardware - for example, hinges, locks, and drawer runners – from Germany. The wood is dried to 10 per cent moisture content before it is made into furniture. The

factory possesses a 67-cubic metre timberdrying kiln. The Mango factory is mechanised with an assortment of approximately 30 heavyduty machine tools. It has a 180-Kva generator that can operate all 30 machines, in case of a power outage. “Consequently, we deal with large orders quickly and efficiently,” says Mr Scriven. At Mango Ltd, all new designs are initiated with drawings. “Our key workers have been trained to understand and to work from drawings,” says Mr Scriven. “We have a registry of drawings, which means that if a client, for

instance, wants an additional chair to one they ordered years ago, they will get exactly the same chair to match.” Mango Ltd makes a complete range of wood, metal and fully-upholstered furniture for home as well as commercial use. They also make camping furniture and interior accessories. The company has a range of standard models that are either available in stock or can be produced in a few days. The Nakumatt supermarkets at Westgate, Ngong Road (Prestige), Junction, Uhuru Highway (Mega) and Village Market in Nairobi stock Mango furniture. The company would like to have more outlets. “We had an outlet on Baricho Road in the Industrial Area until 1992, when the trading climate became very unfavourable and we had to close it down,” says Mr Mwaura. He is referring to the general economic downturn in Kenya during this period, which saw people reduce their spending to essentials only. Today, business has picked up and Mango hopes to open an outlet soon. With the cost of wood going up progressively, Mango Ltd has had to look for alternatives. “We are increasingly turning to medium density fibreboard (MDF) with a mahogany veneer,” says James Mwaura, a director of the company. Mango is planning to import particleboard and chip board. “What is available locally is not up to the standards we require,” adds Mr Mwaura. That then, according to Mr Mwaura, is the direction the company will take in future. The writer is the Managing Editor of Miti magazine. Email:

Miti July - September 2013


Desert date trees (Balanites aegyptiaca) in Adjumani district, northern Uganda. (Photo: Clement Okia)

Enriching Uganda’s drylands Agroforestry has the potential to combat desertification, diminish the effects of climate change and improve livelihoods BY CLEMENT OKIA


rylands are areas where soil moisture is very low and temperatures very high for most of the year. As such, only certain life forms survive in such areas. Globally, drylands cover over one third of the total land area. In Africa, drylands occupy about 43 per cent of the continent and are home to about five million people. There have been various schemes to classify drylands based on the availability of water, food production and atmospheric conditions (e.g. temperature, precipitation, humidity and pressure). Based on annual rainfall, drylands can be classified as arid (200-500 mm), semi-arid (500-1,000 mm), and dry sub-humid (1,0001,500 mm). Based on this definition, drylands in Uganda fall in the semi-arid and dry sub-humid categories. The drylands in Uganda stretch from the northeast to the south-western borders of the country. They cover an area commonly known as the “cattle corridor” in the districts of Kotido, Moroto and Katakwi in the northeast, Nakasongola and parts of Luwero in central Uganda, to Rakai, Mbarara and Ntugamo in the south west. The drylands cover about 40 per cent of the total land area. These areas receive low


and unreliable rainfall and drought is recurrent, thus the vegetation is sparse. Much of the dryland area in Uganda is considered over-stocked and heavily degraded, with problems of vegetation loss. The resulting effects of overgrazing are soil compaction, erosion (particularly gully erosion) and emergence of low-value grass species and vegetation with subsequent declines in carrying capacity of the land and consequently, low productivity. Land clearance for agriculture and fuel wood are the major causes of deforestation in Uganda. Over 90 per cent of the population living in drylands relies on firewood for their energy needs, and a big fraction of urban dwellers depend on charcoal. In general, about 92 per cent of Uganda’s source of energy is charcoal and firewood. Bush burning during the dry season is increasing the extent of vegetation loss, especially in the eastern districts of Uganda. Like elsewhere, the drylands in Uganda are generally under constant threat from multiple stresses and challenges. These are a result of a complex interplay of natural and human-induced processes. The natural processes include weather variability, recurrent and unpredictable droughts and the associated floods caused

by the typically short and heavy intervening rains. The human-induced processes include land degradation and desertification caused by unsustainable and inadequate land use practices on a fragile resource base of low fertility. These processes are fuelled by local forces, such as demographic pressure, poverty, high dependence on subsistence rain-fed agriculture, prevalence of infectious and chronic diseases and civil conflict. External forces, including inadequate governance mechanisms, ineffective land tenure systems and poorly conceived national policies, also often drive the processes. The intensified land and environmental degradation in the drylands is leading to loss of their productive potential and resulting in famines, low household incomes and increased social unrest. The most common and serious result of these threats is chronic food shortages. However, agroforestry – the integration of trees and shrubs with agricultural crops and/ or livestock - has great potential in addressing most dryland challenges. Agroforestry can be promoted in drylands to conserve biodiversity, reverse land degradation and improve rural livelihoods by generating income from high-value tree products.

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AGROFORESTRY OPTIONS Some of the agroforestry options for improving livelihoods and restoring the environment in Uganda’s drylands are: Indigenous fruit tree products Studies conducted in the drylands of Uganda indicate that they are well endowed with indigenous fruit trees. Some of these fruits are locally traded with good returns to households. The most highly ranked fruit trees include; Tamarindus indica, (tamarind tree, mkwaju) Vitellaria paradoxa (shea butter), Vitex doniana (mgegi, black plum), Carissa edulis (mtandamboo, bush plum, conker berry), Ximenia americana (Sour plum, wild plum, mtundakula, sea lemon), Balanites aegyptiaca, (desert date) Borassus aethiopum (African fan palm, mvomo) and Sclerocarya birrea (amarula). Research is under way to domesticate these valuable tree species. However, commercialising products of the existing wild trees through improved processing and value addition can substantially improve livelihoods of dryland communities. It is important to note that such communities usually have limited off-farm income sources and indigenous fruits mostly ripen during the peak of the dry season, making their collection, processing and marketing beneficial to rural dryland communities. Good progress has been made with Vitellaria paradoxa (shea butter) and communities are already protecting this tree using locally based institutional arrangements such as by-laws and ordinances. The other indigenous fruit trees equally have novel products that, if developed, would improve rural livelihoods in the drylands.

Fortunately, farmers have long known how to integrate these useful indigenous fruit trees into their crop and pasture lands. It has been noted that one of the secrets to the survival of communities, and perhaps their greatest defence against food insecurity in drylands like Karamoja, is the perennial trees they nurture and manage. Scattered across their cropland and pasture fields, trees such as Balanites aegyptiaca (desert date), Vitellaria paradoxa (shea butter), and many others sustain dryland people by providing them with essential fruits, edible leaves rich in minerals, fibre, fodder and medicines. Modern science can build on this indigenous agroforestry system to improve the livelihoods of dryland communities even further. There is also need to select superior trees for improved production. Production and commercialisation of gum arabic Uganda has reasonable quantities of Acacia senegal (gum arabic, acacia arabica) and Acacia seyal (red acacia) trees used for the production of gum arabic, which is in great demand in the international market. The trees grow wild in Uganda’s dryland areas, especially in the Karamoja sub-region. The trees are found in many districts in northern, south western and central Uganda, most of which are dryland areas. To exploit the economic potential of these trees, there is need to enhance the capacity of communities for sustainable harvesting techniques of gum arabic that ensure quality of the product and fragile ecosystem protection. Growing of medicinal plants The World Health Organisation estimates that 80

per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa relies on herbal remedies for all or part of their medicinal requirements. The plant material used in herbal remedies is harvested mainly from wild sources. Domestication of such medicinal plants may offer a good opportunity to benefit the local people in the drylands. The growing of medicinal plants such as Aloe vera, (desert lily, nature’s magic) Moringa oleifera (horseradish tree, mzunze), Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood) and many others adapted to such environments, offers opportunities. (Sweet wormwood is a herb, not a tree, from which anti-malaria drugs are manufactured). Efforts have been initiated in Uganda but the quantities produced are still small, thus making it difficult to access larger markets. Drylands could enter the global medicinal ingredients market through planned cultivation of high-demand medicinal plants. High economic returns, coupled with low management costs, would influence dryland communities to adopt agroforestry innovations involving the growing of medicinal plants. Live fences, windbreaks and shelterbelts The use of trees as live fences, windbreaks and shelterbelts is a widespread practice in many dryland agricultural systems. Live fences are used to control animal movement but depending on the species used, the trees can also provide fodder and fuel wood. When used as windbreaks, the trees control wind erosion. To act as windbreaks, trees should be planted on the edges of farmlands, perpendicular to the direction of wind. In drylands, the effects of winds on agricultural crops, homesteads and public infrastructure such as schools and places of worship can be severe. Windbreaks have been demonstrated to reduce crop damage and improve crop yields, as well as productivity of animals. When windbreaks cover substantially large areas, they form shelterbelts. Windbreaks and shelterbelts can provide protection to crops over a distance equivalent to 15 - 20 times the height of the trees used. Fodder banks Fodder banks are intensive plantings of trees or shrubs at close spacing for maximum productivity to provide supplementary feed to animals. In the drylands, this can involve the growing of indigenous tree species for the production of protein-rich fodder on farm or rangelands. The fodder kept in this manner especially acts as a reserve supplement during the dry periods, when other sources of feed will be limited.

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It looks almost like a mango, but this is the inside of a borassus fruit. (Photo: KEFRI)

shrubs used in improved fallows provide stakes for climbing crops and are also useful for firewood. Crop yields can be improved for up to three seasons following the fallow period. This practice can go a long way in improving crop productivity and availing the much needed fuel wood in drylands.

Some of the species that have been used are Calliandra calothyrsus (powder-puff), Leucaena leucacephala (lusina, white popinac, lead tree), Sesbania sesban (Egyptian river hemp) and Gliricidia sepium (gliricidia, Mexican lilac). These species can be planted alone or in combination with other fodder plants such as grasses. The use of fodder shrubs in combination with base feeds such as elephant grass has been shown to increase milk yields in cows significantly. Local tree and shrub species palatable to animals and that can withstand repeated cutting could be used to provide cutand-carry fodder. Research is needed to identify and domesticate such tree and shrub species in the drylands. Multipurpose woodlots This can involve planting of trees close together in the form of woodlots to fulfil multiple objectives such as provision of wood and fodder, and for soil protection and soil reclamation. Trees can be harvested on a rotational basis, providing a constant supply of tree products. Woodlots can be used to reclaim degraded lands or to make use of land, like hilltops, otherwise unsuitable for crop production. Desirable species for woodlots should be fast growing and those that coppice easily. A number of acacias and other indigenous trees found in the drylands have this potential. This needs to be tapped, especially for commercial production of charcoal. Besides eucalyptus, some of the species that should be explored in the drylands


of Uganda include; Melia volkensii (mukau), Olea europea (wild olive), Dalbergia melanoxylon (African blackwood or ebony, mpingo) and Senna species (cassias, gassia). Improved fallow Leaving croplands uncultivated is a common practice in many dryland parts of Uganda. This is intended to allow the soil to rest and regain some of its fertility from the growing vegetation, usually naturally growing grasses and shrubs. Due to a rising human population that requires more agricultural land, there is a general reduction of the fallow periods to the extent that the intended objective of regenerating the land is often not met. Improved fallowing is an attempt to mimic the traditional shift cultivation to rejuvenate soil fertility. In this case, instead of waiting for nature to regenerate the land, fastgrowing nitrogen-fixing multipurpose trees and shrubs are planted in the land for 6 – 12 months. In situations where it is not feasible to dedicate the land to shrubs for even one season, the shrubs can be integrated directly with crops in wide rows and cut back periodically to minimise competition. This latter practice has yielded good results in southern Africa. Some of the species that can be used are Calliandra calothyrsus, Leucaena leucocephala, Sesbania sesban, Crotolaria species (rattle pod), Tephrosia vogelii (Vogel’s tephrosia, fish poison bean) and Gliricidia sepium (gliricidia). Besides restoring soil fertility, trees and

Apiculture This is a silvo-pastoral system where suitable trees and shrubs are grown to support beekeeping. Traditional beekeeping is common across Uganda’s drylands. Integration of heavy flowering trees such as Calliandra calothyrsus (calliandra) and improvements of beehives used can substantially increase honey production, thus contributing to improved nutrition and incomes of dryland communities. The vegetation in dry areas generally provides some of the best sources of pollen for bees, therefore yielding high quality honey with a ready market both locally and internationally. Conclusion As required by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Uganda formulated a National Action Programme (NAP) to combat desertification, with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme and other partners. The NAP seeks to integrate dryland issues into Uganda’s development programmes by ensuring that strategic planning takes into account sustainable development issues of drylands with a focus on poverty alleviation, food security and sustainable environmental management. The effects of climate change being witnessed in Uganda are already more pronounced in the drylands. Agroforestry should be promoted in the drylands to combat desertification, mitigate and adapt to effects of climate change and improve livelihoods. The writer is a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Email:

Miti July - September 2013

Rocky myths and legends Nzambani Rock in Kitui is surrounded by mystery BY STEVEN GITONGA

Nzambani historic rock is situated some 8 kilometres south of Kitui town and is visible on the left hand side of the road when driving to Mutomo. (Photo: KEFRI)


ot far from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) - Kitui Centre, lies the famous Nzambani Rock, locally known as Vya ya Nzambani. This is a unique, conspicuous, 60 feet tall rocky mass, situated 8.4 kilometres from Kitui town, along the Kitui Kibwezi road. Nzambani Rock is an exceptional attraction, often visited because of the mythical story about it told from one generation to another. It is said that if one goes round the rock seven times, one will change one’s gender. Two distinct legends are told of this rock. Once upon a time, a beautiful Kamba maiden, Nzambani, together with two other girls, went to fetch firewood in the then vast wilderness of Kitui. While doing so, she spotted a beautiful round stone that she thought would be good for grinding tobacco for her grandfather. She cunningly covered the stone with a heap of her collected firewood. After the girls had gathered enough firewood, Nzambani tried to lift her load but could not. She cried for help from the other girls but all their efforts were unsuccessful. They could not pry the stone and the firewood from the ground. Since Nzambani could not leave her load, she excused her friends who rushed back to the village to seek more help. Unfortunately, darkness set in before they reached the village, and no one dared enter the dense forest in the dark. The following day when the rescuers went in, they found that Nzambani had turned into a rock. Thus, in her honour the rock was called Nzambani. The locals say that the stone continues to grow to-date. According to Mbeva Mutaki, the gatekeeper at Nzambani rock, another legend is told that during the early days of exploration in Africa, some white missionaries1 arrived in Kitui The first Europeans to reach the interior of Kambaland were the German missionaries Johann Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), in 1849. At that time, Kitui was the home of Kivoi, a celebrated Kamba trader who commanded a large following that included slaves. It is said that Kivoi met the missionaries in Mombasa, and guided them to Kitui where - on December 3, 1849 - they became the first Europeans to set eyes on Mount Kenya.


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and were met by hostile locals. The missionaries walked around Nzambani rock to escape the Kamba warriors who were pursuing them, baying for their blood. One missionary was cornered by the warriors and sought refuge inside a cave. There he stumbled upon women’s clothes, which he wore to disguise himself. When the warriors caught up with him, they were surprised to find that the man had turned into a woman. Thus, the legend goes that if you walk around the stone seven times, you change your gender. The top of Nzambani rock provides a great view over Kitui district and its environs. The flora is mainly dry woodlands, bush lands with small covers of dry forests. Generally, degradation of natural resources is evident. Irrespective of these challenges, KEFRI, with assistance from the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA), has in the recent past used the area around Nzambani rock for the germination, propagation and raising of the Melia volkensii tree, locally known as mukau.

In addition, KEFRI has domesticated a selection of high-value trees. These include: Dalbergia melanoxylon (mpingo), an indigenous slow-growing tree, highly valued for woodcarving, Terminalia brownii (muuku), an indigenous species favoured for its good form and resistance to termites, Senna siamea , an exotic tree, prioritised for its fast growth and provision of fuel wood), Mangifera indica (the mango tree), and Citrus sinensis (citrus) - for its adaptability and fruits. These are among many other tree species being promoted for rehabilitating the degraded dryland regions of Kenya. The writer is an Information and Communication Officer, KEFRI Email:


Heavy mortality in Lamu’s mangrove ecosystem. Human interference can interact with climate change to give rise to a sick defence system. (Photo BGF)

Responding to climate change Forest managers need to adjust management plans and practices in anticipation of changing weather patterns BY SIMMONE ROSE


orests support the livelihoods of more than a billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide and provide paid employment for over 100 million people. More than 80 per cent of the world’s land biodiversity is found in forests and they help protect watersheds that are critical for the supply of clean water to most of humanity. Climate change, however, poses enormous challenges for forests and people. Adaptation and mitigation are the two main responses to climate change. Mitigation seeks to address the causes of climate change and adaptation aims to reduce its impacts. In the forest sector: Mitigation strategies comprise reducing emissions from deforestation, reducing emissions from forest degradation and increasing the role of forests as carbon sinks. Mitigation also includes product substitution, such as using wood instead of fossil fuels for energy, and forest products instead of materials whose manufacture involves high greenhouse gas emissions; Adaptation encompasses interventions to decrease the vulnerability of forests and people to climate change. Deploying sustainable forest management (SFM)1 not only lessens the risks posed by climate change, it can also generate opportunities, such as employment in forest restoration, forest SFM is described by the United Nations as “a dynamic and evolving concept that aims to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental value of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations”.



conservation, wood production and wood-based manufacturing; tenure reform; and payments for carbon-related services. Encouraging SFM and optimising its role in climate-change mitigation and adaptation will often require major changes in policies, strategies and practices. Delay in making such changes will increase their cost and difficulty and reduce the opportunities they may create.

Impact on forest ecosystems and forest dependent people Climate change impacts vary across the continents with some forest types being more vulnerable than others. Impacts include increased growth, increased frequency and intensity of fires, pests and diseases and a potential increase in the severity of extreme weather events (e.g. droughts, rainstorms and wind). Human activities, including forest conservation, protection and management practices, interact with climate change and often make it difficult to distinguish between the causes of changes observed and projected. Forest area The area covered by forests is most likely to change under climate change, with shifts occurring between forest types due to changing temperature and precipitation regimes. In some regions, forest area is expected to expand (e.g. temperate regions) and in others to contract (e.g. boreal, tropical and mountain forests). Such changes have occurred in the past,

following the natural changes in temperature and precipitation that accompanied the different ice ages. Currently, however, it is very difficult to separate change that is due to climate change from changes due to other factors. In the future, it is expected that the combination of climate change, land use conversion and unsustainable land use practices will interact. Changes in water availability are considered a key factor for the survival and growth of many forest species, although the response to prolonged droughts varies among species and among different sub-species. Climate change will increase the risk of frequent and more intense fires, especially where changing climate is accompanied by lower precipitation or longer dry periods as in the boreal, Mediterranean and sub-tropical forests and traditional land clearing practices as in the Amazon. Although data are not conclusive, it is expected that frequency of strong hurricanes will increase in hurricane prone areas such as Central America and the Asia Pacific region. The main effect is likely to be economic (infrastructure, crops and timber lost) and social (lost lives and livelihoods). Together with land use changes, however, the effects may be much longer lasting and devastating degraded and young forests are easily converted into agricultural land and pastures. Health and vitality Climate change may have profound impact on the health and vitality of the world’s forests. In some

Miti July - September 2013

cases, vitality may increase due to a combination of a more favourable climate for growth and carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilisation. In most cases however, increasing temperatures favour the growth of insect populations, which is detrimental to forest health. This is more likely to occur in forests dominated by few tree species or where specific temperatures or moisture levels control insect populations. For example, the spread of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae in boreal forests has been largely attributed to the absence of consistently low temperatures over a long period of time, which allowed an existing outbreak to spread across montane areas and into the colder boreal forests. Similarly, Finland expects an increase in infestation of root and bud rots in its coniferous forests, due to the spread of a virulent fungus, Heterobasidion parviporum, favoured by longer harvesting periods, increased storm damage and a longer spore production season. In the tropics, on the other hand, increased warming reduces the life cycle of many insect pests. At the same time, increased fire damage makes trees more susceptible to insect attacks. Biological diversity It is difficult to predict the impacts of climate change on the biological diversity of forest ecosystems. What is known, however, is that some species will adapt better to changing conditions than others, resulting in changes of composition of forest types, rather than geographic shifts of forest types. Phenological changes are expected in a number of species, with more and greater changes observed in higher latitudes. Pollination, flowering and fruit setting of trees in tropical systems may be more affected by changes in the phenological cycles because species interactions may be more complex and involve more than one species, while seasonality is not as clearly marked as in other geographic areas.

shown to decrease productivity and may be a probable cause of declined productivity. Carbon storage and sequestration There is an important interaction between carbon storage and sequestration by forests and changing temperatures and precipitation. On the one hand, the more carbon is stored in forests the less will be in the atmosphere. On the other hand, increasing temperatures, longer dry seasons and increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere in the long term, are expected to reduce the capacity of forests to store and sequester carbon, possibly converting forests from carbon sinks to carbon sources. Since carbon sequestration depends on productivity, all factors that affect productivity will also affect carbon sequestration. In addition, in the short term, increasing temperatures may reduce carbon storage capacity, although the effect may vary depending on the season in temperate regions.

Soil and water protection The role of forests in water regulation and soil protection may become increasingly important under climate change conditions. However, the capacity of forests to fulfil this role may be affected by the changing conditions. Reductions in rainy season flows and increases in dry season flows are of little value when total annual rainfall is low and significantly evaporated and absorbed by forests. In areas with frequent fog, the absorption of water by trees from the clouds (horizontal rain) may contribute significantly to the total amount of rainfall. Multiple socioeconomic benefits In some areas, climate change may increase growth, while in others decreases are expected. While the expected global increase in wood production may lower prices, benefitting consumers, the combination of lower prices and regionally differentiated effects on productivity will cause differentiated effects on timber harvest

Forest productivity The impact of climate change on productivity varies according to geographic area, species, stand composition, tree age, soils (in particular water holding capacity), effects of CO2 and nitrogen fertilisation and interactions between any of these. In general, productivity was found to increase with rising temperatures in most forest areas, including the Amazon, probably due to CO2 fertilisation. However, in contrast to temperate areas, production increases in tropical forests will be brief and will decrease once CO2 saturation levels have been reached. Water deficits over extended periods have also been

Miti July - September 2013


Exudation of gum out of a whistling thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) tree. As this is partly a stress reaction, gum production out of acacias might be enhanced by prolonged drought due to climate change in Sahelian Africa. However, this might lead to faster exhaustion and a shorter lifespan for the trees. (Photo BGF)

related income and employment. Climate change will have impacts on the productivity of NWFPs2 and there will be pressure on forest products from people looking for emergency supplies or alternative means of income. The latter is likely to occur in areas of high poverty, high dependence on NWFPS and extreme climatic events and other natural disturbances, such as pests, diseases and fires.

Climate change and forest management Climate change makes it difficult for forest managers to satisfy their objectives and their broader responsibilities to society. In response to these changes, managers must adjust their management objectives and practices. Forest managers need to reduce the vulnerability of their forest to climate-related damage, optimise benefits of changing climate, and take advantage of any policy incentives or financial support available for climate change adaptation and/or mitigation. Managers aiming to minimise damage or losses from climate change must deal with the uncertainties and variability of climate change, differences in the time scales of impacts, and the costs associated with changing management practices. Because of the uncertainty of how and how much climate will affect forests, it may be advisable for forest managers to prepare for a wider range of change and to alter forest protection and management measures on at least a portion of the landscape. Increasingly, forest managers need to be aware of the current and potential impacts of climate change. Some effects are direct, such as climate-driven changes in hydrological processes and in plant physiology, growth, and 2

Non Wood Forest Products


population dynamics. Others are indirect, caused by modified disturbance regimes (e.g. fires, pests, and storms). Yet other impacts are secondary, which include those driven by economic and social changes brought about by responses to climate change, including population movements and changes in markets (e.g. increased demand for biofuels to replace fossil fuels). As climatic conditions move beyond historical ranges, adaptation and mitigation will require adjustment of management objectives, approaches, and monitoring systems. A factor in managers’ favour is that sustainable forest management (SFM) practices are consistent with climate change adaptation and mitigation. While the practices remain the same, forest managers will need to factor climate change into their planning and adjust their management practices accordingly, such as by shifting to other species or varieties or to other products. Managers also need to put more emphasis on risk management and will need to weigh the costs of changes in forest management against the likely benefits, keeping in mind that the costs of climate change adaptation are likely to increase the longer one waits.

Forest management options for climate change mitigation and adaptation There are three possible approaches for adapting forests to climate change: No intervention, Reactive adaptation/mitigation and Planned adaptation/mitigation. Unfortunately, most current management belongs to the first or at best the second category. No intervention means “business as usual”; based on the premise that the forest will adapt more or less, as it has in the past. Reactive

adaptation/mitigation is action taken after the fact. This means, “crossing the bridge when we come to it”. Examples include salvage cutting, post-disturbance changes in industrial processes to convert salvaged timber, updated harvest scheduling, recalculated allowable cuts and development of socio-economic support programmes for affected localities. Planned adaptation and/or mitigation, on the other hand, involves redefining forestry goals and practices in advance, in view of climate changerelated risks and uncertainties. It involves deliberate, anticipatory interventions at different levels and across sectors. At the community level, options may include diversification of forest-based and non-forest based income sources, better local governance of forest resources and capacity building for monitoring and coping with possible calamities. Within the industrial forest sector, planned adaptation/mitigation may involve the inclusion of biomass-based energy as a product or the promotion of wood products for their low carbon footprint. At the national and global levels, opt ons may include a timely monitoring and reporting system and the development of tools for vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning. Forest managers might also be increasingly required to weigh global implications of local interventions, as forests are part of global bio-geophysical and bio-geochemical cycles and are increasingly subject to international agreements or to certification schemes. Planned adaptation/mitigation also includes exploring new opportunities that arise from climate change. This might for example include planting provenances or species that will grow faster under projected climatic conditions or reaping the benefits of new products and services such as carbon sequestration and new forms of biomass based energy. Planned adaptation/

Miti July - September 2013

mitigation may reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, or it may entail diversification at the expense of productivity. At the stand level, planned adaptation/ mitigation may mean planting a larger diversity of species or provenances, or trees bred for resistance to expected stressors. Modification of thinning schedules may help stabilise stands against drought, storms and disease and may help capture added growth from CO2Â fertilisation. Finally, forest management planning can no longer be based solely on growth and yield curves over time. Management plans must incorporate uncertainty and the increased probability of extreme events, as well as the periodic comparison of projections against the evolving reality to update targets and methods. Intensive forest monitoring is a key component of planned climate change responses and will probably require additional technical and human resources. Monitoring can provide early warning of forest dieback and of pest and disease outbreaks, help reduce uncertainty in planning, and minimise losses. After an extreme event, rapid damage assessments are useful for planning timber salvage and conservation and predicting impacts on timber supplies, markets and socio-economic conditions. Most developed countries with significant forest cover already track tree growth and forest status. These efforts have sometimes been broadened to include aspects related to climate change such as monitoring of carbon and forest

health. In developing countries, lack of funding and expertise for monitoring and assessment may hinder early detection of climate change impacts and timely responses. Here planned climate change responses must start with capacity building for periodic forest assessments.

Conclusions The potential impacts of climate on forests vary according to geographical region and local topography and land uses. However, with only a few exceptions, temperatures are expected to increase. In some areas, change may be well above the 2o Celsius considered critical for survival of current ecosystems and will show greater fluctuations than in the past. Changes in precipitation are more difficult to project and are more influenced by local factors. Climate change preparedness will include, therefore, the ability to monitor what changes in climate are actually occurring and what secondary impacts these may have on forests and the management of forests. This does not mean however, that each forest manager needs to set up his own monitoring system, rather, forest managers should be involved in monitoring, through participation in or support to local monitoring platforms, usually involving local universities. In general, the main challenges posed by climate change to achieving forest management objectives are: Improving the down-scaling of climate change and climate change impact models and the

incorporation of more local information; The potential strengthening effects of poor forest and land management on the impacts of climate change; Maintaining essential ecosystem services under changing conditions; Collaborative land management to reduce the negative impacts of the consequences of climate change (e.g. fires and disease outbreaks); Management of changing water resources; Adaptation of management practices without introducing new problems; Management of human migration due to the impacts of climate change elsewhere; Adaptation of legislation to the demands of a changing world, in particular defining and protecting the rights over valuable products of ecosystem services, such as carbon; Adaptation of forest management to new market conditions, at the same time ensuring ecological integrity and social benefits; Management of forests and trees as part of dynamic landscapes, in which forest managers interact with their neighbours in search of synergies and sustainable land management. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is developing guidelines to support forest managers in responding to climate change challenges and opportunities. The guidelines can help forest managers to identify and assess options for adjusting forest management plans and practices in response to and in anticipation of climate change. This guide will also be of interest to other stakeholders, since forest management responses to climate change will influence and be influenced by other sectors and stakeholders. The guidelines are targeted at all types of forest managers (i.e. individual forest owners, private forest enterprises, public sector entities and indigenous groups and community forest organisations), for all forest types in all regions, and for all management objectives. The wide scope of the document means the guidance is broad by design. FAO looks forward to collaborating with interested parties in the development of more detailed guidelines specific to particular forest types or forest managers, but also encourages others to use the current guidelines as a basis for developing more detailed, site-specific guidance. The writer is a Forestry Officer, Climate Change and Bioenergy, Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in Rome, Italy Email:

Miti July - September 2013


Nurturing high quality tree seed

For highly productive tree plantation sectors, we must invest in tree improvement programmes BY BERNARD KAMONDO, JAN VANDENABEELE and PETER ANGAINE


rees grown for a niche market, for example timber or transmission poles, should be uniform. It is important that most, if not all trees in a plantation grow vigorously and have the right physical characteristics for the purpose they are being grown. For example, plantations for timber should have trees with long, cylindrical, large diameter stems of low taper. Such uniformity is desirable and makes a lot of money for the tree grower. Variability, on the other hand, makes losses for the tree grower in terms of opportunity cost. Simply put, uniformity is a boon, variability a bane in commercial forestry. Compared to growing of agricultural crops, tree growing takes longer. Inherently then, it is quite heart-breaking to make mistakes in tree growing as in most cases, the errors are not easy to correct. One of the most costly mistakes made in commercial tree planting is using poor quality seed. Unlike crop-based agriculture where a mistake of using poor quality seed can be corrected the following season, tree growing might leave the tree grower stuck with a poor tree crop until the rotation1 period, which could

be up to 25 years. The economic loss in terms of foregone earnings could run into millions of shillings depending on the plantation size. The converse is true – one stands to make millions from using high quality seeds. Unfortunately, high quality tree seed is expensive, rigorous and time consuming to produce. The highest quality tree seed is from a tree seed orchard, a group of trees planted with the sole purpose of producing high quality tree seed. Tree breeders and silviculturists establish the tree seed orchards after years of research. In the simplest process, populations of trees in a given species are sampled to pick out outstanding individual trees. It is assumed that the exemplary performance of such trees over others growing in the same area is due to possession of superior genetic traits. Seeds or cuttings are collected from such trees to raise seedlings. In some cases, deliberate cross-pollination is done among the selected individuals to produce seed with superior genes from both parents. The offspring of the selected individuals are raised in a plantation managed for the sole purpose of producing seeds. To produce seed that is proven to have the

suspected genetic quality, other parallel research is undertaken, the most common being progeny trials. In a progeny trial, the offspring are planted and tended through a rotation and performance assessed to confirm that indeed the traits that their parents were selected for, have been inherited by the offspring. Depending on the results of the progeny trials, researchers revisit the seed orchards to remove trees whose offspring perform poorly as well as creating a new group of offspring (through seeds or cuttings) that will be used to establish a second generation seed orchard. Eventually, the progeny trial is also converted into a seed orchard. These integrated and repetitive treebreeding processes are supposed to go on over many generations without a break, in a wellorganised and securely funded tree improvement programme. With the passage of time, the seed quality is expected to improve further. Countries with well-funded and functional tree improvement programmes have highly productive tree plantation sectors manifested by fast-growing uniform trees in the landscape. On the contrary, countries with dysfunctional tree improvement programmes have creaking

Two mukau (Melia volkensii) trees. Which one would you like to see in a breeding programme for seed production? (Photo BGF) 1

Lifetime of a plantation of trees


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Table 1: Eucalyptus grandis seed details from Sappi Forests, South Africa

Outstanding specimens of Vitex keniensis (Meru oak) that are a suitable source of propagation materials for a seed orchard. (Photo KEFRI)

Seed class


Price (US$/ kg), March 2009

Sappi Select

Seed production areas based on domesticated or provenance seed excluding the best families


Sappi Superior

1st generation seed orchards (selected parents)


Sappi Elite

Selective family harvest of 1st generation orchards (tested parents)


Sappi Advanced

Seeds from advanced orchards, including controlled pollinated seeds that will rival current clonal planting stock


Source: Tree planting guidelines for Uganda, SPGS (2009)

plantation sectors, growing highly variable trees and incurring huge hidden losses through lost opportunities. The intricacies of producing high-quality tree seed make the seed expensive. Charging a premium price on highquality seed in an attempt to recover the cost of production would make the seed too expensive for farmers to afford. Table 1 gives an example of the cost of quality seed. A feasible alternative is to charge a nominal tree breeders levy on produce from plantation forestry such as timber. Such a levy could mobilise adequate financial resources to ensure that Kenya has a vibrant treebreeding programme. In making the argument for providing subsidised high-quality tree seed, we hasten to add that such seed should be nurtured with utmost care, as

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it is a product of long years of expensive research work. Every seed should be given all the attention necessary to make it yield a mature tree. The seed should therefore only be made available to serious tree growers. Bernard Kamondo is a Researcher at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute, (KEFRI) Muguga Jan Vandenabeele is the Executive Director, Better Globe Forestry Email: Peter Angaine is the Seed Centre Manager, KEFRI Email:

Kisayani borehole, showing the pump house, gantry and elevated tank, all fenced. (Photo: Erik Nissen-Petersen)

Money down the drain Why do we keep sinking funds into boreholes very few provide water? BY ERIK NISSEN-PETTERSEN


t is strange that many people still regard boreholes as the answer to water shortages. This, despite the fact that less than a quarter of all boreholes drilled in Africa supply water. What are the reasons for the so-called “failed” boreholes? This article looks at the boreholes themselves and the pumps. In the countryside, many people mistakenly refer to shallow wells as boreholes. We need to draw a line. Boreholes are drilled by a machine and are 30 to 300 metres or more deep. Boreholes should not be confused with shallow wells, also called hand-dug wells, which are dug manually with simple tools.

Table 1: Facts about boreholes in Kenya


• good ones in Machakos County are found in zones full of joints or weathered rock. Most of the geology consists of metamorphic and igneous rock that is compact and very dense, making it difficult to hold water. • Falling water tables, a common phenomenon due to over-extraction or over-pumping in major towns like Machakos or even Nairobi. Boreholes become too shallow to yield water, simply because the recharge capacity of the aquifer is less than the extraction. • Siltation: In the pumping process, soil particles may be sucked into a borehole, causing blockages that lead to borehole failure. The problem could be solved partly by shorter pumping times, but that reduces the volume of pumped water. • Climate: Prolonged droughts cause falling water tables that cannot be replenished in periods of scarce rainfall.

PEM Consult, an international consulting company with considerable expertise on boreholes, estimates that the success rate for boreholes in Kenya is as shown on Table 1. As can be seen, success rates for striking water vary between 35 and 80 per cent, with the average being just over 55 per cent. An abstract of the study “Geologic factors leading to borehole failure in Machakos County, Kenya” by Dr Christopher M Nyamai 1 explains more borehole failures due to the following factors: • Twenty per cent of boreholes in Machakos County are either dry or saline (Ministry of Water and Irrigation), so unusable from the start. • Geology limits the extent of aquifers. The few

Department of Geology, Chiromo Campus, University of Nairobi,



Water Services Board

Drilling success %

Average depth (metres)

Average production (m3 per day)

Typical yield (m3 per day)

Tana WSB





Athi WSB





Tanathi WSB





Coast WSB





Lake Victoria South WSB





Lake Victoria North WSB





Ewao Ngiro WSB









Rift Valley WSB (WSB – Water Services Board) Source: PEM Consult

A paper titled “Who is Going to Drill African Boreholes?” by Andy Robinson 2 states that most rural water supply boreholes in Africa are drilled by private contractors or non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In general, operating staff have limited knowledge regarding the hydrogeological conditions within which they are working. Also there is often a lack of effective Government regulation or supervision. Consequently, the quality of workmanship varies considerably, as does the ability to identify, predict and mitigate against possible borehole failure.

Pumps Marcel Rutter of the African Studies Centre presents a document, “Shallow wells: A sustainable and inexpensive alternative to 2

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Rough estimate for drilling of a borehole in Eastern Province

It cannot be clearer… No doubt about who is behind the borehole. (Photo: Erik Nissen-Petersen)

boreholes in Kenya”3 explaining why many boreholes in neighbouring Kajiado County cannot provide water. Some of the reasons he cites are: • Fuel and maintenance of generators: Diesel-powered pumps require diesel and oil on a weekly basis. Generators require new air and oil filters for every 250 hours of operations. If contaminated fuel is used, diesel filters will last for only 1,000 hours, or less. To function, diesel-run pumping systems require fuel, oil and expertise on maintenance and repairs; and the funds to purchase and transport those requirements to the isolated areas the boreholes are often located. Such requirements are not easy to fulfil in remote regions with limited funds. • Solar-powered pumps: Most of the solarpowered boreholes in Kajiado are no longer operating due to thefts, and youngsters throwing stones at the panels, despite the presence of guards. Although solar panels do not require fuel, it becomes difficult to convince the water users to pay for the cost of guarding the pump-houses, maintenance and repairs. Furthermore, it has become clear that solar-powered pumps cannot supply the quantities of water needed for livestock within the available time. This increases the waiting time at the boreholes and very little time is left for herds to graze in far-off locations. • Wind-powered pumps: Wind pumps require a lot of maintenance due to their moving parts. Maintenance is costly and time-consuming. The so-called “overflow” is another disadvantage. During windy nights, so much water is pumped into the tank that it overflows and creates muddy gullies that are difficult for herders and livestock to walk over in the morning. • Shifting aquifers and over-pumping: Due to underground cracks in Kajiado, some water streams redirect themselves and the • water yield in the affected boreholes could be 3

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• reduced drastically. The quality of water also varies. In specific regions, water is too salty for use. Sometimes, this is caused by overpumping over many hours in small aquifers. • Socio-economic problems: The introduction of boreholes into the Maasai community has been top-down. The local communities have hardly been involved in the choice of location for boreholes. Herders hardly understand the installation, repairs or maintenance of these “new” technologies that are powered by diesel, solar and wind. This has strengthened the impression that the new technology does not belong to the users but to the donor. As a result, feelings of responsibility are not only weak but also sometimes missing altogether among the water users. In addition, the local council needs to pay its borehole attendants on time, to foster responsibility. • Other options for provision of water: Kajiado people mostly use water pans, and particularly shallow wells, for water. Boreholes provide only two per cent of the total demand for water.

Requirements: • Hydrogeological survey, report and approvals. • EIA report and NEMA licence (the EIA report also requires proof of land ownership or agreement). • Plastic tank (minimum 5m3), including elevated platform - purchase and transport. • Drilling: Mobilising equipment, drilling, installation of casing and of submersible pump, test pumping, water quality testing (biological and chemical analysis). • Construction of a pump house, installation of control panel and all other fittings and accessories including an automatic float switch. • Electricity connection from the main grid, assuming there is a transformer near the site, otherwise more costs have to be incurred. • Concrete poles for fencing around the site. • Pipes, water meters and fittings. • Supply and erection of support framework for machinery. • Water drawing point TOTAL: Ksh 6.1 – 6.5 million

Example Kisayani Borehole Water Project, situated in Kibwezi district, along the road from Kibwezi to Athi, two kilometres before the river. The borehole was completed in 2012. Water was struck but it is too salty to use. Nevertheless, a pump house was constructed, and a pump and tank installed, and all fenced – yet nobody uses the borehole.

Questions to ask ourselves It is difficult to understand why billions of Kenyan shillings and millions of US dollars are still being spent on drilling unsuccessful boreholes and installing unused pumping facilities (see box). It is also very strange that the surveys carried out by experts do not eliminate most of the failures, considering that the following documents are required for drilling boreholes in Kenya: • A drilling licence from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. • An environmental impact assessment (EIA) by a consultant licensed by the National Environment Monitoring Authority (NEMA), and approved by the same. • A hydrogeologic al survey report produced by a registered geologist. • Authorisation from the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA). These well thought out but apparently

ineffective procedures cost some Ksh 300,000, before the drilling of a borehole even takes place. The drilling itself, of say a 150-metre deep borehole, costs at least Ksh 1 million. Thus, drilling one borehole costs about Ksh 1.5 million, all for an uncertain result. The money is well spent if the borehole supplies water, but is a waste if it does not. Why do we not learn from our mistakes? It would be better to assist rural people to harvest rainwater into tanks, various types of dams and water pans, or even into the sand of seasonal watercourses and hand-dug wells in shallow groundwater. The writer is the Managing Director, ASAL Consultants Ltd. Email:


A young Terminalia brownii tree. This is a useful dryland and ornamental species, resistant to termites. It is fairly fast growing, has good coppicing abilities, produces hard durable timber and poles, and good charcoal; also medicinal. (Photo: Jan Vandenabeele)

Plant the right tree in the right zone Site-species matching for some useful trees in Uganda BY MICHAEL MALINGA


ganda is divided into 10 silvicultural zones according to prevailing weather patterns, mean annual temperatures and mean annual rainfall. Tree growers need to know the best

A desert date (Balanites aegyptiaca) repeatedly browsed by giraffe on its lower crown. Very hardy but slow growing. Produces termite resistant timber, poles, vegetable oil, dry season fodder. The fruits are edible and the tree has medicinal properties. (Photo BGF)

species to plant in those zones in order to achieve maximum growth. The 10 silvicultural zones are indicated on the table below with corresponding potential for commercial plantations:



Mean annual temperature

Mean annual rainfall (mm)

Potential for commercial plantations


Cold, wet

Less than 18 C

More than 1,250

Good, but little land available



Cold, dry

Less than 18oC

Less than 1,250

Limited, with careful site analysis


Cool, dry



Some, with careful site analysis


Cool, moist

18-22 C




Cool, wet


More than 1,500

Very high


Warm, wet

22-23 C

More than 1,250

Very high


Hot, wet

23-24 oC

More than 1,250

Yes, with care, especially on weeding


Hot, dry

22-24 oC


Yes, with careful site analysis


Very hot, wet

More than 24oC

More than 1,250

Some, but largely untested


Very hot, very dry

More than 22o C

Less than 1,000




In addition, according to tree improvement principles, tree seed sources and species should be matched to planting sites. The table below shows the


silvicultural zones and some corresponding species that can best be grown in those zones/areas in Uganda.



Common name


Cordia africana Markhamia lutea Prunus africana Maesopsis eminii Podocarpus latifolius Olea welwitschii Warburgia ugandensis Croton macrostachyus Lovoa swynnertonii

Drum tree Nsambya Red stinkwood Musizi Broad leaved yellow wood Elgon Olive Uganda greenheart Broad leaved croton Brown mahogany


Common name

Eucalyptus grandis Cupressus lusitanica Pinus patula Alnus acuminata Grevillea robusta Eucalyptus globulus Acacia mearnsii

Rose gum Cypress Mexican weeping pine Alder Silky oak Blue gum Black wattle

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Common name


Common name


Antiaris toxicaria Lovoa swynnertonii Cordia africana Markhamia lutea Prunus africana Warburgia ugandensis Croton macrostachyus

False mvule Brown mahogany Drum tree Nsambya Red stinkwood Uganda greenheart Broad-leaved croton

Eucalyptus grandis Cupressus lusitanica Pinus patula Araucaria hunsteinii Araucaria cunninghamii Grevillea robusta Alnus acuminata Acacia mearnsii

Rose gum Cypress Mexican weeping pine Klinki pine Hoop Pine Silky oak Alder Black wattle


Podocarpus usambarensis Antiaris toxicaria Markhamia lutea Milicia excelsa Khaya senegalensis Prunus africana Acacia senegal Lovoa trichiloides Albizia coriaria Maesopsis eminii Aningeria altissima Funtumia elastica

African yellow wood False mvule Nsambya Mvule African mahogany Red stinkwood Gum arabic African walnut Mugavu Musizi Aniegre Rubber tree

Terminalia superba Terminalia ivorensis Pinus caribaea Pinus oocarpa Eucalyptus grandis Grevillea robusta

Superb terminalia Black afara Caribbean pine Mexican yellow pine Rose gum Silky oak


Prunus africana Khaya senegalensis Khaya anthotheca Maesopsis eminii Lovoa trichiloides

Red stinkwood African mahogany Red mahogany Musizi African walnut

Eucalyptus grandis Pinus oocarpa Pinus caribaea Araucaria cunninghamii Cupressus lusitanica

Rose gum Mexican yellow pine Caribbean pine Hoop pine Cypress


Milicia excelsa Maesopsis eminii Khaya anthotheca Khaya senegalensis Khaya grandifolia Cordia millenii Antiaris toxicaria Lovoa trichiloides Prunus africana Croton macrostachyus

Mvule Musizi Red mahogany African mahogany African mahogany Drum tree False mvule African walnut Red stinkwood Broad-leaved croton

Eucalyptus grandis Pinus oocarpa Pinus caribaea Araucaria cunninghamii Araucaria hunsteinii Terminalia superba Terminalia ivorensis Agathis australis

Rose gum Mexican yellow pine Caribbean pine Hoop pine Klinki pine Superb terminalia Black afara Kauri pine


Milicia excelsa Maesopsis eminii Khaya anthotheca Khaya senegalensis Khaya grandifolia Cordia millenii Antiaris toxicaria Lovoa trichiloides Prunus africana Croton macrostachyus

Mvule Musizi Red mahogany African mahogany African mahogany Drum tree False mvule African walnut Red stinkwood Broad-leaved croton

Eucalyptus grandis Pinus oocarpa Pinus caribaea Araucaria cunninghamii Araucaria hunsteinii Terminalia superba Terminalia ivorensis Agathis australis Tectona grandis

Rose gum Mexican yellow pine Caribbean pine Hoop pine Klinki pine Superb terminalia Black afara Kauri pine Teak


Terminalia brownii Khaya senegalensis Albizia gummifera Milicia excelsa Senna siamea Markhamia lutea Afzelia africana Tamarindus indica

Museta African mahogany Peacock flower Mvule Cassia Nsambya Afzelia Tamarind

Tectona grandis Eucalyptus camaldulensis Eucalyptus tereticornis Pinus oocarpa Pinus caribaea Melia azederach

Teak River red gum Forest red gum Mexican yellow pine Caribbean pine Giant lira

Miti July - September 2013


A tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica). A very hardy fruit tree, slow growing, easy to establish, edible fruit pulp with medicinal properties. Important for food. (Photo: Jan Vandenabeele)


Acacia senegal (gum arabic) that is barely a year and a half old, for fuel, poles, gum arabic, fodder and medicine. (Photo BGF)


Common name


Common name

Terminalia brownii Khaya senegalensis Albizia gummifera Milicia excelsa Markhamia lutea Tamarindus indica Vitellaria paradoxa Combretum molle Albizia zygia Acacia senegal

Museta African mahogany Peacock flower Mvule Nsambya Tamarind Shea butter Velvet bushwillow Nongo Gum arabic

Tectona grandis Eucalyptus camaldulensis Eucalyptus tereticornis Pinus oocarpa Pinus caribaea Senna siamea Melia azederach

Teak River red gum Forest red gum Mexican yellow pine Caribbean pine Cassia Giant lira


Terminalia brownii Khaya senegalensis Albizia gummifera Milicia excelsa Markhamia lutea Tamarindus indica Vitellaria paradoxa Combretum molle Albizia zygia Acacia senegal Balanites aegyptiaca

Museta African mahogany Peacock flower Mvule Nsambya Tamarind Shea butter Velvet bushwillow Nongo Gum arabic Desert date

Tectona grandis Eucalyptus camaldulensis Eucalyptus tereticornis Pinus oocarpa Pinus caribaea Azadirachta indica Anacardium oxidentale Senna siamea Melia azederach

Teak River red gum Forest red gum Mexican yellow pine Caribbean pine Neem Cashew Cassia Giant Lira

Kasana Gum arabic Apple-ring acacia Tamarind Gum arabic tree Desert date Velvet bushwillow

Azadirachta indica Dovyalis caffra Senna siamea

Neem Kei apple Cassia


Acacia hockii Acacia senegal Faidherbia albida Tamarindus indica Acacia nilotica Balanites aegyptiaca Combretum molle


The writer is a Tree Improvement Specialist at the National Tree Seed Centre, Uganda Email:


Miti July - September 2013

Most CFAs are meaningful. Members of Shamaneck CFA in Laikipia actively participate in restoring “their” forest. Photo KFWG.

Concerns need addressing FOMAWA raised important issues on forest management BY RUDOLF MAKHANU


iti issue 18 carried an article titled “CFAs hinder efficient forest management”. In the article, the Friends of Mau Watershed (FOMAWA) argues that community forest organisations (CFAs) simply get in the way of efficient forest management. We would like to comment on this. The preamble of Global Forest Principles1 states in part that “The subject of forests is related to the entire range of environmental and development issues and opportunities, including the right to socio-economic development on a sustainable basis”. This is amplified by articles 69 (1) (a) and (d) of the constitution of Kenya that commits the state to ensure sustainable utilisation of natural resources and public participation in the management and conservation of the environment. It is on this solid rock that Participatory Forest Management (PFM) is buttressed. The discussion by FOMAWA attempted to shake this foundation, but only succeeded in bringing to the fore a number of pertinent issues. Whereas the credibility and competence of some CFAs could be below par, this cannot be enough ground to dismiss PFM. Non-Legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests (1992), a document produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). (Wikipedia).


Miti July - September 2013

FOMAWA erroneously equates efficient forest management to professional management of plantations and assumes that CFAs are clueless on forest conservation matters. CFAs in the Mau region should blame themselves for creating this notion by failing to engage professionals. However, there are a host of competent CFAs out there doing a great job. Gathuiru and Karura CFAs are in this league. It should also be clarified that CFAs have set up companies through which they engage in business. If run on business principles, such companies could work with major concessionaires. Since PFM has room for stakeholders to participate in forest conservation, it is expected of civil society organisations (CSOs) to play a leading role in building the capacity of CFAs. FOMAWA however correctly points out that any weak link within the eight PFM steps could critically endanger its effectiveness. CFA formation and establishment is step number three, which, as pointed out by FOMAWA, is capable of throwing the entire PFM process in a spin. This is what could be done: A code of practice for CFAs should be developed and a CFA national body with legal backing set up and strengthened for self-regulation. It should be mandatory for each Forest Management Plan to be accompanied by a business plan and an implementation plan. A monitoring and evaluation mechanism on PFM should be developed and operationalized,

where priority would be to establish a multistakeholder monitoring team. A clear, benefit-sharing framework should be developed. The concession management framework should be re-designed to reflect devolved government considerations and other emerging issues such as implications of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.The review would incorporate the recommendations raised by FOMAWA on commercial forestry mentioned in an article titled “KFS is wasting a valuable resource” in the same issue of Miti magazine. A rejoinder by KFS titled “Forests belongs to us all” adequately sets the record straight as relates to the involvement of CFAs in forest conservation. The writer, however, got it wrong regarding the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative. He wrote that the initiative has nothing to do with carbon credits. Article 79 (1) (a) of the draft Forest Bill states that the Cabinet Secretary shall, by regulation, establish a Permanent Forest Sink Initiative that will constitute the establishment of a framework to facilitate the administration of forest sink covenants that allow landowners to access the value of carbon sequestration on all types of land. The writer is the National Coordinator, Kenya Forests Working Group Email:


A view of Lwamunda Central Forest Reserve. It is situated next to the Mityana-Fort Portal highway, some 32 kilometres from Kampala. Note the absolutely degraded state of the forest. Few big trees are left, and maize has been cultivated inside the forest. (Photo: Miti)

Restoring Lwamunda forest NFA and Norway-Uganda Friendship Association collaborate to restore a degraded forest reserve BY DIANA AHEBWE


he National Forestry Authority (NFA) of Uganda was established under the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2001. NFA is responsible for the management of Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) on a sustainable basis. NFA manages over 506 CFRs across the country. However, NFA has faced a number of challenges in managing the forest reserves, the major one being encroachment from communities neighbouring forests. The physical and legal integrity of the forests is at stake, with encroachers pouring into the reserves for subsistence cultivation, and increasingly turning hostile to investments in the forest reserves to the extent of causing grievous bodily harm. NFA, in partnership with NGOs, private companies and international organisations, and in collaboration with the community members around the forests, is involved in restoring the degraded land by planting indigenous trees. NFA works closely with encroachers and persuades them to leave the forest reserves peacefully. One of the forests that NFA wants to restore is Lwamunda in Mpigi District, the biggest part of which has been cultivated with maize. NFA collaborated with Norway-Uganda Friendship Association (NUFA) to replant 10 hectares of Lwamunda forest. NUFA is an association of Ugandans who have a connection with


Norway through work and study. It was formed in 1978 and in 1994, with economic support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), decided to become actively engaged in practical objectives. Norway is among countries that have supported the forest sector in Uganda. The species planted in the degraded land in Lwamunda forest include Prunus africana (ntasesa), Maesopsis eminii (musizi), Terminalia superba 1 (ofram tree, limba), Cedrela odorata 1

and Markhamia lutea (nsambya). The seedlings were provided by NFA and planted at a spacing of 4 by 4 metres. Community members and NFA will nurture and tender the seedlings for up to three years. The challenge is to make sure the seedlings, which were planted in between maize planted by encroachers, survive. The writer is the Miti magazine Country Representative - Uganda Email:

Not indigenous to Uganda


Miti July - September 2013


BGF now working with schools Better Globe Forestry (BGF) has started a tree-growing programme with primary schools in Witu division, Lamu County. This is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility activities.

Teachers and parents committee members listen attentively during the workshop. (Photo: BGF)

April 18, 2013 Jan Vandenabeele, the Executive Director of BGF, conducts a tree planting and growing training session for parents and teachers of selected primary schools in Witu division, Lamu County. (Photo: BGF)

Workshop participants discuss good planting and tending practices during a visit to a eucalyptus plantation of the Catholic Diocese at the entrance to Witu town. (Photo: BGF)

Workshop participants pose for a group photograph during a field visit to BGF’s plantation in Nyongoro ranch. (Photo: BGF)

May 13, 2013: Children of Soroko Primary School in Witu division make a presentation to guests during a tree planting ceremony. (Photo: BGF)

Miti July - September 2013

Jean-Paul Deprins, Managing Director, BGF, plants a casuarina seedling in the Soroko Primary School compound. (Photo: BGF)



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