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Tree Talk, September 2009

Tree Talk, September 2009

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Tree Talk is an audience-driven, locally relevant eco-newspaper produced for Ugandan adolescents by Straight Talk Foundation, a leading Health & Development Communication NGO based in Kampala, Uganda.

Launched in March 2002, Tree Talk aims to promote environmental awareness, sustainable land-use, and indigenous tree-planting and woodlot establishment in schools & communities throughout Uganda. Every copy of Tree Talk is distributed with a satchel of tree seed specific to the local environment of the recipient school community, with the objective of empowering readers to practice the lessons learned from the newspaper and begin raising seedlings of their own. Since its inception, Tree Talk has facilitated the establishment of tree nurseries and tree-planting projects at thousands of Ugandan schools at a very low cost. The paper is recognized by the Government of Uganda as a vital component of national efforts to promote tree-growing and conservation.

Though publication has varied over the years, Tree Talk is meant to be produced and distributed twice annually. Appearing in Uganda's lead national daily, _The New Vision_, and is posted to roughly 16,000 schools and 500 CBO/NGOs involved in agricultural and/or environmental activities across Uganda, Tree Talk has an audience of nearly 1 million adolescents with each issue.
Tree Talk is an audience-driven, locally relevant eco-newspaper produced for Ugandan adolescents by Straight Talk Foundation, a leading Health & Development Communication NGO based in Kampala, Uganda.

Launched in March 2002, Tree Talk aims to promote environmental awareness, sustainable land-use, and indigenous tree-planting and woodlot establishment in schools & communities throughout Uganda. Every copy of Tree Talk is distributed with a satchel of tree seed specific to the local environment of the recipient school community, with the objective of empowering readers to practice the lessons learned from the newspaper and begin raising seedlings of their own. Since its inception, Tree Talk has facilitated the establishment of tree nurseries and tree-planting projects at thousands of Ugandan schools at a very low cost. The paper is recognized by the Government of Uganda as a vital component of national efforts to promote tree-growing and conservation.

Though publication has varied over the years, Tree Talk is meant to be produced and distributed twice annually. Appearing in Uganda's lead national daily, _The New Vision_, and is posted to roughly 16,000 schools and 500 CBO/NGOs involved in agricultural and/or environmental activities across Uganda, Tree Talk has an audience of nearly 1 million adolescents with each issue.

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Published by: Straight Talk Foundation on Sep 30, 2009
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Reduce charcoal impact
 Vo l. 8  No. 2 Sep te m ber  200 9
Reduce charcoal impact
Cet Kana Primary School in Gulureceived 1800seedlings from
Tree Talk.
Theynow have a youngbut thrivingwoodlot and fruit trees! You cangrow your own trees with theseeds includedwith this
Tree Talk.
Protect trees, forestsStabilise weather/rains
C
harcoal is taking a terribletoll on the environment.But people who live in citiesneed it for cooking, and many rural people earn income fromselling it. We need to think critically about charcoal.Two possible ways of goingforward are:• using less charcoal• producing charcoal withfewer wasted trees
People in cities needcharcoal because it givesmore energy for its smallsize. It is transported moreeasily and cheaply thanfirewood, which is large andbulky. In cities, people donot have access to trees:they need to buy charcoalthat is produced in ruralareas and trucked intotowns.Charcoaling is hurtingour environment by reducing trees. Ugandancities are growing very quickly; more and morepeople need charcoal.But we do not want tospoil the environmentin rural areas because we in the towns need toeat. Charcoal brings short-term incomebut soon the environment will work onus. In many districts, large woodlandshave been greatly reduced becauseof charcoal production. These treesused to bring regular, plentiful rains,prevented soil erosion, and were homesfor many different birds and animals. Without these woodlands, rains havebecome unpredictable. Crops are failingdue to drought.Charcoal production isnot a solution to poverty.Charcoal prices are highbut still the profit for theproducer is low. Akena John Bosco (Left)makes charcoal from OmoroCounty, Kitgum. He says,"Trees are scarce since weare very many involved inmaking charcoal. If you donot have land, you must buy trees at a cost of 5000-8000/= per tree, dependingon the size of the tree." Akena sells one sack of charcoal at 9000/=- that means a profit of only 1000/= per sack! Akena says, "This work is tiresome but there isno other alternative."
 What would you do inhis place?
On June 22,
Tree Talk 
paraded through Adjumani with studentsand community leaders andplanted 100 Mvule trees along theroad to town.Thanks, Adjumanischools!
 ABOVE:Combretum is a small tree with hard wood that makes verygood charcoal. It also has many other uses. Its flowers produce goodnectar for honey. Medicine from the roots treats worms, fever anddysentery. Its wood is useful for tools. Replant if you cut. Open the fruitsto get the seed; if difficult, soak in cold water and then open. Sowimmediately. It germinates easily.
Using traditional methods, charcoal pro-ducers in Nakasongola use two Combre- tum trees to make one sack of charcoal.But if we used improved charcoalproduction methods, a single treecould produce one sack. Thatwould decrease by half the dam-age done to the environment.
If every charcoal-producer followed the improved charcoaling guidelines in this
Tree Talk 
, and every charcoal-user cooked on anenergy-saving stove,Uganda would save 4,375,000 tons of wood a year.That is equivalent to almost half the trees (42%) in Mabira Forest!
 
Tree Talk, September 2009
2
M
any people are not practiced incharcoaling. It is only a part-time occupation. Because of this,they may not know the best, safest way to make charcoal. 
Says Richard Kisakye, AcademicRegistrar at Nyabyeya Forestry Collegeand energy specialist: “The way charcoal is being produced, there is somuch waste: for every 10 kilograms of  wood that are burned, you only get onekilogram of charcoal. At the rate thatUganda is cutting trees, I don’t think theforests will last even 10 years.”
BE CAREFUL!Making charcoal isdifficult, and sometimes dangerous work.
Okello Stephen, 15, from Omoroin Gulu, dropped out of school becauseof school fees. Now he is helping his auntin piling logs to make charcoal.He says,
"
Last week I got injured when I was fellingdown a tree. Thetree sliced andhit my hand andnow I cannot liftanything with my right hand.”
1.
It is best to cut treesfrom a man-made woodlot that can be replanted. Donot cut natural forests – they bring rain, protect wa- ter catchment and are home to many birds and animals.Natural forests take long togrow back. Cut a tree trunk30cm from the ground. Donot cut lower: allow thestump to grow again. Use asaw to make a direct cut; anaxe cannot cut directly and wastes wood.
2.
Cut treesinto logs of 1-1.5 metresin length.Dry in a well-clearedarea for 3-4 weeks. Dry  wood islighter tocarry and yields morecharcoal.
3.
For a “kasisira” kiln, lay thin pieces of woodpointing towards the center. Lay more piecesacross to make a platform. Stack the largestlogs first, as closely as possible. Follow withmedium and then small logs. Fill remaining spaces with smaller logs.
4.
For a “bus” or “kinyankole”kiln, lay thin logs crosswise intoa long, rectangular platform. Top with large logs, filling the gaps with smaller logs.
5.
Cover the kiln with metal sheets, if you have them.Otherwise, cover with grass and then with a layer of soil of atleast 20 cm. Make at least eight air inlets at the base of thekiln. To light the kiln,put burning charcoalinto the lighting holeat the top of the kiln.Let it burn for 1½ to2 hours before sealing  the lighting hole. Builda ditch or a barrier of  thorny branches around the kiln to protect itfrom cattle.
6.
Monitor the kiln at all times.If cracks or holes appear, fill withsoil. When the kiln falls in on it-self, the wood has finished burn-ing. Seal all cracks with soil. Allow the charcoal to cool for fivedays before harvesting. Use apitchfork to har- vest thecharcoal withoutpicking  up soil.
Charcoal is made from trees. First, trees arecut, collected and gathered into a large heap.The wood is usually covered with a layer ofdried grass, a layer of soil, and then it is lit.The grass and soil act like a barrier, prevent-ing air – and the oxygen (O
2
) in the air - fromreaching the wood. This is different fromfirewood, which burns in the open air and
Wood andcharcoal are not theonly fuels
 A boy in Nakasongola helps his grandmother produce charcoalusing a traditional kiln. The kiln must be supervised at alltimes. If cracks are not filled with soil, heat can escape and you will get less charcoal. 
Improve charcoaling
CHARCOAL PRODUCTION DOES NOT HAVE TO WASTE WOOD
:
 
Every year, Uganda cuts seven million tons of wood to make charcoal: that is like cutting 40% of Nakasongola's woodland! If all charcoal were made properly, following the above guidelines, we wouldonly need half as many trees to make the same amount of charcoal.
 
eventually turns to ash. When makingcharcoal, there is no oxygen and so thewood burns slowly through a processcalled carbonization; when the woodhas finished burning, charcoal remains.Charcoal is carbonized wood. To pro-duce it more efficiently, follow the direc- tions below.
Mr. Abasi Kazibwe Musisi ofKampala is an award-win-ning entrepreneur who makesbriquettes from waste materi-als. He says, “You find heapsof G-nut husks just waiting tobe burned. I compact theseas well as sawdust, coffeepulp and maize cobs into bri-quettes with a machine. Theyburn very cleanly and the heatgoes directly to the pot.”These briquettes are goodbecause they re-use wastematerials; do not need trees;burn for a long time; and areless costly than charcoal.They need to burn in a specialMasisi stove, which is soonbeing finished. You cancontact Mr Musision 041-4-270887.
1-1.5 m30 cmLighting hole Air hole
 
Tree Talk, September 2009
3
T
he shea tree is far more valuable as a fruit-produc-ing tree than as charcoal. When cut and burnt, anaverage-sized shea tree willproduce ten sacks of charcoal. At 10,000/= a sack, this willearn the charcoal producer100,000/=. But this same treecan produce 60,000/= worthof nuts every year for 100 years. That is equivalent to 6million/= per tree.Called Yaa/Yao in Acholi andImuru in Langi, shea trees givenutritious fruits that provideprotein and minerals likecalcium and potassium. They are a source of energy in themonths before the rains whenthere is a lot of heavy planting work.The kernels or nutsof the shea fruit areeven more valuable.They contain an oil, which is used forcooking and smearingin northern Uganda.This oil can be processed andturned into a "butter".
Nyeko Corina of Loyoajonga village, Gulu, with a plateof shea nuts. She says: “Inormally sell shea oil at8000/= a litre. The pricecan even go beyond that when demand increases. My granddaughter of 10 yearscan now help me to processthe oil. It takes me about 2 weeks to collect the fruitsand convert it into oil.”
In Lira over 1600 women haveorganised themselves into anassociation called Rwot Ber(The Good Leader). In a good year they sell two sacks of sheanuts to a buyer from Kampalaat 120,000/= a sack. This paysfor school fees. They also keeptwo sacks for domestic use.
 John Kuteesakwe,
energy expert and project coordinator  with the German DevelopmentCorporation (GTZ), says we all need to think aboutthe consequences of using charcoal and to use it carefully."The charcoal consumer in Kampala is not only cooking a meal for eating,"says Kuteesakwe. "By cooking with charcoal,they carry responsibility for environmental degradationand destruction of huge areasof forest. If he or she was notproviding the market, thecharcoal producer would notcut the trees."
Fruit of shea treesgive long-term wealth
Save charcoal as you cook 
Biological name4RsLusogaAtesoLugandaLuo
Albizia coriaria Musisa Musita Etak Mugavu LatoligoCombretum molle Murama Ndawa Ekworo Ndagi Okechu/odukCombretum collinum Mukora Nkotcha Ekuloin Mukora Okechu/oduguTerminalia glauce-scens-- -- -- Muyati LaleraAlbizia zygia Musebega Mulongo Ebatat Mulongo BedoAcacia sieberiama Mutyaza Mufuwanduzi Etirir Mweramenyo AcharaAcacia seyal -- -- Ekaramai Mugano AgagiAcacia hockii Rugando Kasone Ekisim Musana Achiru/okeetu
In March, Kuteesakwe'sproject won an internationalprize for work in promoting energy saving stoves.In the last five years, 500,000improved stoves have helpedhouseholds in Uganda.Do you have an improved stove?
In Europe and the US, sheabutter is put in sweets. Forexample, shea butter is usedas a cocoa butter improver inchocolate bars. It is also usedin cosmetics.Uganda has the potential toexport up to 350,000 tonnes of shea butter a year. Currently akilo is sold for $9.50 or about18,000/=.The shea tree grows natu-rally in eastern and northernUganda. It takes 15 years fora shea tree to produce fruit, which are harvested from Aprilthrough June, even in times of drought. Nuts can be storeduntil January when they can besold for school fees.Shea treesgrow well with othercrops likebeans,cowpeas andmillet.
Environment officers recommend the tree spe-cies in this table as suitable for charcoaling.Trees that produce good charcoal are usually slow growing: they are dense and slow-burning. Always leave enough trees standing so that the species can regenerate. You can also plant these tree species for charcoal. That is calledcharcoal farming. Never make charcoal from species likemvule, mango or shea.
 Soak beans for4-5 hours beforecooking
Eco-hero
Cook food with the lid onUse a ceramicenergy-saving stove
 Above:pure sheabutter sold as skin creamin Kampala.Right:The nutsbeing prepared for export.Photocredit: KFP Ltd
In many  Acholi com-munities it is forbidden tocut shea and you pay a fineof 50,000/= if  you do.
Government guidelines: which trees for charcoal?
 
C
harcoal is sometimescalled “black gold”because it is so valuable: itallows us to cook food. 
Here are six ideas to useless charcoal and make yourcharcoal last longer. (Mostof these ideas also apply tofirewood)
1.
Store your sack of charcoal in a dry place, Ittakes a long time for wetcharcoal to begin burning
.
2
. Use a fuel-efficient stove,like the ceramic sigiri. Itlasts for many years anduses only half the charcoalof a metal sigiri! You willsave money over timefrom buying less charcoal.
3.
Split foods like cassava,potatoes and meat intosmaller pieces. Soak 
5.
Put out the fire as soon as you have finished cooking.
6.
Put a lid on your cookingpot to prevent heat fromescaping.beans for 4-5 hours: they  will cook faster!
4.
Make a plan for cooking.Do not light a stove until you have prepared youringredients and are ready to begin cooking.

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