The Trees Are Alive | Greenhouse Gas | Greenhouse

The

trees
are
alive
.
Working for people and trees
.
in Uganda
Table of contents
Background 1

About us 2
Why trees?3
Donors 4
Tree Talk newspaper plus seed 5
On-the-ground work 6
Schools 6
Communitygroups 7
Prisons,barracks,healthunits 8
IDPcamps 8
Radiofortrees9
How we grow trees10
Treenurseries10
Seedsources 11
Treespecies 12
Plantingout 13
Monitoring 14
Evaluation 15
Annex 1 & 2 16
This report was compiled by C Watson and SP Amunau in August 2010.
The designers were Gordon Turibamwe and Michael Kalanzi (MeBK). Tree Talk’s website
is www.treetalk.or.ug. All the editions of its newspapers and all its reports can be found on
that website. All Straight Talk Foundation materials can be found on its general Scribd site:
http://www.scribd.com/Straight%20Talk%20Foundation. For more information,
please contact info@treetalk.or.ug
Tree Talk - working
for people and trees
Tree Talk believes that trees help to solve many
problems: degraded watersheds, lack of firewood,
hunger, loss of habitat and biodiversity, erosion,
climate change, the poor health of women and
children, poverty & more.
Straight Talk Foundation, Plot 4, Acacia Avenue, Kololo,
P.O.Box 22366, Kampala, Uganda, Tel: (General) +256 312 262 030/1,
Tel: (Direct) +256 312 266 148, E-mail: info@treetalk.or.ug
Working with students
Surveys by Tree Talk have found that many
schools have 10 to 50 acres of largely
unused land, particularly in the north and
northeast. Some have as much as one
square mile. The conditions are ideal for
tree growing.
In addition, boarding schools can consume
six to eight lorries of frewood a term as
they must provide three meals a day to their
students. This is costly to the school and
damaging to the environment. The wood is
almost always taken from the natural bush.
The enthusiasm of teachers
SInce 2002, Tree Talk has trained
over 1500 teachers, many of whom
have gone on to raise woodlots at their
schools.
Often grown from seed that the teachers
collect themselves, these woodlots
provide income and shade to the
schools. Tree Talk is now working with
prison warders.
The struggle to collect good seed
The best way to collect the seed of Milicia
excelsa -- Mvule or Iroko, as it is known in West
Africa -- is by using high tree climbers.
In the dramatic photos on the right, tree seed
expert Sebastian Walaita hauls a young climber
into the upper branches of a fne Mvule in
Ngetta, Lira. Small branches laden with the fruit
are then cut and the fruit harvested and pulped
to extract the seed.
Background
“Tree Talk” is one of the biggest
social forestry efforts in East Africa.
Focused on fighting climate change
and improving the lives of ordinary
people, since 2006 Tree Talk has raised
and overseen the planting of over two
million trees in northern Uganda and
Karamoja.
A further 200,000 Tree Talk trees
have been raised since 2002, when it
began to send tree seed to schools.
This estimate, based on 10% of
schools growing trees from the seed,
is conservative. The seed is distributed
with Tree Talk. This newspaper about
the centrality of trees to people’s well-
being is a vital part of Tree Talk, giving
the programme a national identity.

Schools are already benefitting from
the Tree Talk trees they have raised or
been given. Some have harvested them
to pay teachers’ salaries or build school
desks or teachers’ houses. Others
have left them to form wind breaks or
provide shade.
Muge PS in Masaka, for example,
is now self-sufficient in fuel, having
grown eucalptus from Tree Talk seed
since 2002. It prunes the branches for
firewood for school meals.
Tree Talk trees take pressure off the
bush, thereby protecting biodiversity
and habitat for wildlife.
Besides its national work, Tree Talk
is currently working on the ground in
northern Uganda with 500 schools, half
a dozen prisons and 138 communities.
In 2009 it planted 20 different species
of trees. Since 2002, Tree Talk has
trained 1621 teachers and 688
community members and supported
the planting of 3563 acres.
Implemented by Uganda’s Straight
Talk Foundation, Tree Talk employs 15
young foresters and provides casual
jobs to hundreds of youth and women,
many of them former LRA abductees.
Please contact us if you would like to
know more. We have learnt much about
nursery work, changing mindsets about
indigenous trees, germinating species
such as Afezelia africana, and more
that we want to share.
1
TREE TALK, STF
About us
Catharine Watson – president of
Straight Talk Foundation and biology
graduate from Princeton. A senior
Ashoka fellow, she applied the Straight
Talk model to develop Tree Talk. (See
STF’s 2009 annual report at scribd
http://www.scribd.com/Straight%20Tal
k%20Foundation)
Simon Peter Amunau – Programme
Manager for Northern Uganda. A
graduate in forestry from Makerere
University, he has personally overseen
the growing of at least 1.8 million trees
in the north and Karamoja.
Stuart Campo – STF’s Director for
Special Projects. Another Princeton
graduate, he ensures that Tree Talk
complies with its agreements with
its current funders, WCS-USAID and
Danida.
Gaster Kiyingi – National Programme
Manager. An environmentalist formerly
with Uganda’s National Forestry
Authority and Nile Basin Initiative, he
helped to start Tree Talk in 2002.
Jonathan Kisakye – In charge of Tree
Talk newspaper and Tree Talk’s new
project with Ecotrust to register 70
farmers and schools to benefit from
carbon credits.
Joseph Otim, Immaculate Chelangat
and Patrick Nyeko are the Tree
Talk foresters in Kitgum and Pader.
Tree Talk funded them to undertake
diplomas at the National Forestry
College.
James Okurut and Asiku Godwin
work for Tree Talk in Amuru; Eneku
Gordon in Pader; Amani Simon and
Laurence Aziruku in Moyo; and
Dennis Sidonyi and Richard Kepo in
Adjumani. Sidonyi, a former teacher, is
Tree Talk’s most active seed collector.
Lucy Edea supervises Tree Talk in
northern Uganda from Gulu. She has a
particular interest in fig trees (Ficus).
Sebastian Walaita, Uganda’s foremost
tree seed expert, advises Tree Talk on
seed sources. Brian Kaganzi is Tree
Talk’s accountant.
From Top R to Bottom R: SP Amunau
fres up the community in Kitgum; Tree
Talk district staff; C Watson; S Campo;
S Walaita makes notes on Markhmia
lutea; G Kiyingi with coffee seedlings; L
Edea and J Otim pick up seed.
2
TREE TALK, STF
Why trees?
Even before climate change topped
the world’s agenda, Uganda needed to
focus on trees. With one of the fastest
growing populations in the world (3.3%
per annum) and a population that is
87% rural and entirely dependent on
natural resources, Uganda faces a
frightening future.
About 1.2 million hectares of forest
were lost between 1990 and 2005.
Of the 33 million tones of wood
consumed a year, over 75% is turned
into charcoal. Over 95% of households,
including most city homes, depend
on biomass for energy; 70% of the
central forest reserves are at risk of
destruction.
Tree Talk uses its imagination, energy,
people skills, sound social forestry, and
communication for social change to:
Help people reflect upon and
take action to protect the rapidly
dwindling tree cover.
Take all opportunities to support the
growing of trees. Schools, colleges
and prisons have an intense need for
timber, fuel wood, shade and income,
and often have undisputed, plentiful
and under-utilised land.
Impart tree growing skills to the
students, teachers and communities
and inspire and excite them to use
these skills.
Through its newspaper, generate a
constructive national conversation




about how to prevent further loss of
trees.
Tree Talk works within Uganda’s
National Development Plan and
National Forestry Plan and the UN
Framework Convention on Climate
Change, and towards achievement of
the MDGs.
Top: Thousands of Markhamia lutea
seedlings ready for planting out in the
Tree Talk nursery in Yumbe in 2009.
Right: Evidence of the pressures on
trees. They are needed for frewood
and charcoal and cut during land
clearing.
Below right: a felled Borassus palm.
Directly below: a bush fre; and a
cluster of indigenous trees plus a
mango tree.
S
TREE TALK, STF
Donors
Tree Talk was initially funded by the
UK’s Dfid through Uganda’s Ministry
of Water and Environment in 2002.
Dfid supported the “newspaper plus
seed” model, under which Tree Talk
newspaper is sent to almost 20,000
institutions with a sachet of seed.
However, as the war in northern
Uganda progressed, and displaced
people exhausted the trees around
camps, Tree Talk moved into an “on-
the-ground” phase. In 2006-7, World
Food Program funded Tree Talk to start
tree nurseries and plant woodlots in
the north and Karamoja. The aim was
to provide with schools with fuel wood
with which to cook WFP rations. Tree
Talk raised about 480,000 trees, which
were planted on 1050 acres at 380
schools: 400 teachers were trained.
Schools never used the trees for fuel:
rations were withdrawn by the time
trees were big enough to harvest.
However, schools have since used them
for construction and income.
Since then Tree Talk has received
support from FAO for woodlot and
boundary planting in Gulu and
Kabermaido and from the National
Forestry Authority and the British High
Commission for planting in Yumbe to
take pressure off the forest on Mt Kei.
Philanthropists Madeleine and Tim
Plaut funded the planting of about
40,000 trees in Kumi via Tides
Foundation in 2007-8.
In 2008 Wildlife Conservation Society
and USAID began supporting Tree
Talk to protect biodiversity hot spots,
such as Mt Otzi and Agoro-Agu long
the Uganda-Sudan border. This was
Tree Talk’s turning point, leading to
an enormous jump in expertise and
the planting of 1.2 million trees in the
districts of Moyo, Adjumani, Amuru,
Gulu and Kitgum by August 2010.
Finally, in December 2009, Straight
Talk Foundation signed a three year
agreement with Danida to continue and
expand the planting in northern Uganda
and re-launch Tree Talk nationally.
Tree Talk has committed to growing
4.5 million trees under this agreement.
With its nurseries well-primed by the
WCS project and systems in place, it
hopes to plant twice that number.
Above right: the Danish Minister for
Development, Ulla Toernaes; Denmark’s
ambassador to Uganda, Natalia Feinberg,
and colleagues inspect a tree seed
display. Bottom left: Danida’s Karina
Hedemark listens to Tree Talk’s SP
Amunau on a trip to the north.
4
TREE TALK, STF
Tree Talk national: Newspaper plus tree seed
“Tree Talk” began as a newspaper.
Bright, heavily illustrated and easy-
to-read, Tree Talk has a four-page A3
format. It addresses and humanizes
key tree issues, including how to grow
and protect them and why natural
forest and forest fragments must be
protected.
Ten copies of each issue are posted
to each of almost 20,000 schools
and CBOs once or twice a year. A
further 30,000 are inserted into The
New Vision. Copies are also regularly
distributed at national environment
days. The paper comes out twice a year
in English and in Luo for the north. The
print run is 300,000 per issue. The unit
printing cost is only US 2 cents per
paper, far cheaper than a glossy leaflet.
The newspaper bundles always include
a sachet of tree seed -- usually 5-10g,
depending on the size of the seed.
In the past, Tree Talk has sent out
seed for species such as Markhamia
lutea, Mvule, Senna siamea, Balinites
aegyptica, Maesopsis eminii (Musizi),
and others, depending on the ecological
zone. The hope is that schools will read
the paper and set up their own tree
nursery.
Some schools met all expectations.
St James Boarding PS in Tororo has a
woodlot of 500 trees grown from Tree
Talk seed. Victoria PS, Jinja, grew 80
Musizi and 300 Eucalyptus. Mbarara
Prep PS grew 50 Mvule. Iganga SDA
Light PS grew 300 Senna.
But many schools do not plant the seed,
and there is loss at the post office.
Still, the model promises tree growing
on a colossal scale at the cost of US$2
per school. Tree Talk is improving its
distribution and motivating readers to
grow the seed.
Tree Talk won the Elly Tibakanya Prize
from the Wildlife Clubs of Uganda in
2004; was joint runner up (out of 261
entries) at the St Andrews Prize for the
Environment in Scotland in 2005; and
won an Environmental Alert award in
2006.
Trees naturally trap
carbon dioxide,
which they use
during photo-
synthesis. At the
same time they emit
oxygen, which we
need to breathe.
Uganda is lucky, it
still has some
natural forests. It
also has one of the
best climates in the
world for growing
trees. But more and
more trees are being
cut down for
charcoal, firewood
and timber and to
clear land for
agriculture. When
the wood is burned,
it releases the
carbon dioxide that
was stored. This
contributes to global
warming. Cutting
down forests also
means that there
are fewer trees to
produce oxygen.
Deforestation,
especially in tropical
areas, accounts for
20%of man-made
greenhouse gas
emissions each
year. You can fight
this by protecting
the forests that are
left and by growing
more new trees.
Vol. 6 No.1 April 2008
The climate is changing!
This special Tree Talk on climate
change was produced with the Uganda
Carbon Bureau. It is sponsored by the
British High Commission in Kampala.
The British Government is committed
to a lowcarbon global economy.
The climate is changing!
Care for your
climate! With
this Tree Talk,
18,000 schools
countrywide are
receiving tree seed.
Start your nursery
and woodlot
now.Right: Brenda
of the Twogere Kaati
Radio Program with
her mvule seedlings
Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide. They naturally
encircle the earth. But too many greenhouse gases
cause the earth to heat up. This is global warming.
Is the weather in your
area changing? Is there
dry land where it was
once wet, or floods where
it was once dry?
Does your favourite
wetland for swimming
now have little water?
Is the temperature
hotter than before?
All over the world, the
weather is changing:
this is called climate
change. Climate change
is dangerous because it
disturbs our crops, water
and health.
What are greenhouse gases, global warming?
The atmosphere (the air
we breathe) is naturally
made up of different
gases, including carbon
dioxide. Some of these
gases are called
"greenhouse gases".
Why do they have this
name?
They are called
"greenhouse gases"
because they trap the sun's
heat like the plastic
sheeting that is used to
make greenhouses.
Have you seen such
greenhouses near Entebbe
that are used for growing
flowers and vegetables?
Greenhouse gases
naturally act like a blanket
and keep the Earth warm.
This is good: without
them, the Earth would be
very cold!
Unfortunately humans
have caused too much
Save
forests
G
row
trees
carbon dioxide to be
released.
Cars, planes and factories
burn fuel, releasing carbon
dioxide into the
atmosphere. When forests
are burnt, they also release
carbon dioxide.
Today 20% of all man-made
greenhouse gases come
from the destruction of
forests.
To reduce the carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere
and thereby fight climate
change, we can grow trees
and protect forests.
But we can fight climate change with trees But we can fight climate change with trees
British High Commission
Save
forests
G
row
trees
There are
now more
floods and
droughts in
Uganda due
to global
warming.
Trees naturally trap
carbon dioxide,
which they use
during photo-
synthesis. At the
same time they emit
oxygen, which we
need to breathe.
Uganda is lucky, it
still has some
natural forests. It
also has one of the
best climates in the
world for growing
trees. But more and
more trees are being
cut down for
charcoal, firewood
and timber and to
clear land for
agriculture. When
the wood is burned,
it releases the
carbon dioxide that
was stored. This
contributes to global
warming. Cutting
down forests also
means that there
are fewer trees to
produce oxygen.
Deforestation,
especially in tropical
areas, accounts for
20%of man-made
greenhouse gas
emissions each
year. You can fight
this by protecting
the forests that are
left and by growing
more new trees.
5
TREE TALK, STF
In its on-the-ground work, Tree
Talk works mainly with schools and
community groups but also health
units, churches, prisons, police and
the army. All beneficiaries sign memos
of understanding with Tree Talk. Tree
Talk staff regularly visit them to deliver
advice, seedlings, polythene tubes, tree
seed, barbed wire to fence the nursery,
wheel barrows and other equipment,
and copies of Tree Talk newspaper.
Schools
Schools are centres of social capital
and Tree Talk’s entry point into
communities. Their often bleak, hot,
dusty and treeless environment is
inimical to learning, contributing to
poor academic performance and high
pupil drop out. Tree Talk helps schools
to plant trees for shade and fuel and
teach the science of tree growing. The
school appoints two teachers whom
Tree Talk trains. They in turn lead
pupils and fellow teachers in
greening the school.
The aim is for each school to have
1-4 acres of woodlot. Each acre holds
about 436-990 trees, depending upon
whether they are planted 2m x 2m or
3m x 3m. Woodlot species are largely
Markhamia lutea, Senna or Neem. In
addition, each school is provided with
about 100 other trees: usually Mvule
and mahogany for boundaries and
Delonix regia (flame tree) and Jambula
(a naturalised fruit tree from India) to
shade the compound.
Survival rates have been over 60% at
one year for almost all species over the
eight years.
One high performing school is Lokung
Primary School in Kitgum district.
After three years of collaboration with
Tree Talk, it has a four acre woodlot
containing 3000 trees (700 Markhamia
lutea, 2000 Senna siamea and 300
Neem). It also has boundaries planted
with ten Mvule (Milicia excelsa) and 40
Mahogany trees. It has an additional 40
compound trees.
Photos: school tree work. Of particular
interest is the photo at left with the
students in white shirts. They stand by a
Mvule planted in 2006. It is already twice
their height. Note too the hot, dry and
shadeless environment at left.
On-the-ground work
6
TREE TALK, STF
The population around Uganda’s
forest reserves and national parks
consists almost entirely of very poor
subsistence farming families. When
rains and crops fail, they turn to nearby
forests for survival. Tree Talk reduces
pressure on protected areas by helping
communities to raise their own trees
and earn money from selling seedlings.

To be eligible to work with Tree Talk,
individual households must form
groups. These groups then elect leaders
who Tree Talk trains in basic forestry
techniques, such as how to raise
seedlings.
Tree Talk currently works with 138
groups with 688 members in five
northern districts. In Adjumani and
Kitgum, some of the farmers are
enrolled under the Plan Vivo carbon
scheme. Some groups have raised and
sold up to 30,000 seedlings, earning
the equivalent of hundreds of dollars.
The ideal scenario would be that some
community groups become commercial
nurseries. The market is growing,
although most buyers want pine, a
tree that Tree Talk does not currently
promote.
Community Groups
Top: community members gather for
training at Tree Talk’s Paloga nursery in
Kitgum (Lamwo).
Right: women with their small nursery;
middle right: community members with
their certifcates after a Tree Talk training
(also visible are the tools donated to
them).
Below right : A community tree grower
shows the alcohol sachet he has used
to pot a seedling. Communities are
encouraged to look for their own potting
mateirlas.
Below: A a community group near
Zoka Central Forest Reserve with the
mahogany seedlings they have grown.
7
TREE TALK, STF
Prisons, barracks, health
units
Tree Talk began working with prisons,
barracks and other big public
institutions in the north in 2008.
Land-rich but dilapidated, most were
damaged by war. After being rebuilt
by the government and donors, wind
blew the roofs off many. Institutions
also purchase lorry loads of wood from
forests for cooking, yet could grow their
own fuel.
Openzinzi Prison in Adjumani, with
5,000 acres of land, now has a nursery
producing 30,000 trees a season. It has
planted 30 acres with 25,000 trees:
Markhamia lutea, Tectona grandis
(teak), Gmelina arborea, Eucalyptus
cameldulensis, Khaya senegalensis,
Afezelia africana and Albizia spp.
At Adjumani prison, which has also
planted Tree Talk trees, a warder said,
“This area is beginning to experience a
cool atmosphere. Birds and butterflies
are also becoming more in the
plantation.”
IDP camps
Twenty years of war in the north
displaced almost 2 million people
into camps around which trees were
depleted. This has increased flooding,
long dry spells, the drying of water
sources, famine and other calamities.
With displaced people going home,
problems of natural resources may
grow as they open land for farming. In
2009, Tree Talk started working with
former IDPs to restore the ecological
status of former camps and encourage
them not to over-clear or over-charcoal
trees on their land when they return.
Top right: A prison nursery; centre top
- A prison warder with Tree Talk’s R Kepo
in a Gmelina woodlot in Adjumani.
Left: Prison staff in Kitgum gather for a
Tree Talk training, which is attended also
by a UPDF offcer.
Immediate left: A former IDP receives
seedlings from Tree Talk, mostly
Mahogany and Albezia, for planting to
restore a watershed in Gulu in 2009.
8
TREE TALK, STF
Radio for trees
In northern Uganda, Tree Talk uses
radio to trigger dialogue about poverty,
tree growing, ecology, biodiversity
and how land is used. In each of
the six districts of operation, an FM
station airs weekly Tree Talk messages
and monthly talk shows hosting
panelists, such as district forestry and
environment officers and community
representatives. Listeners call in and
tell their own stories.
One caller said “Some people, after
cutting trees for farming, move on to
even burn the stump to kill the tree
completely. This is bad since such trees
cannot regenerate.”
Another said “There has been massive
tree cutting. The government should
come up with precautions. We request
Tree Talk to sensitize the community
more about leaving some trees in
the farm land as they clear land for
cultivation.”
A third said “I appreciate Tree Talk’s
sensitization work. I suggest that
government stop issuing licenses to
timber and charcoal dealers in areas
experiencing deforestation.”
Each caller receives five seedlings.
Those who cannot call are asked to
write. Meetings with communities
generate topics for the shows as does
analysis of environmental issues on
the ground. Topics for radio shows
and spots in 2009 included adapting to
climate change, avoiding bush burning,
preparing firelines to protect woodlots,
trees for carbon finance, conserving
watersheds, and tree seeds for money
District authorities say Tree Talk is
the only source of environmental
radio messages in the region. Radio
sensitization has reached listeners as
far as Nimule in Southern Sudan.
Partner radio stations are Mega FM
in Gulu, Pol FM in Kitgum, Transnile
Broadcasting Services in Moyo and Luo
FM in Pader.
Top right: A commumnity member
waves tree seed, Centre top: SP
Amunau on air with Lucy Edea. Right
- bush burning around shea trees, a burnt
hut, a shea wildling. Below - a forest
fragment.
9
TREE TALK, STF
How we grow trees
Tree Nurseries
Tree Talk’s on-the-ground program
depends on its tree nurseries. In the
first year of work in a district, Tree Talk
establishes at least one central and ten
community nurseries.
Tree Talk has six large central nurseries
in Moyo, Adjumani, Amuru, Gulu,
Kitgum and Pader. All are located near
district headquarters, permanent water
sources, good roads and where nursery
attendants and Tree Talk foresters
can supervise them. On average they
produce 200,000-300,000 seedlings a
year and act as the seedling reservoir
for their district. Tree Talk’s biggest
nursery, in Kitgum, has 23 beds each
with 10,020 pots. It can raise 460,000
over two seasons in a year.
Each nursery is managed by a full time
attendant. Including salaries of the
nursery attendant, each nursery costs
about UGX 10 million (US$5000) a year
to run -- about US 25 cents to produce
a seedling. Trees generate jobs. The six
large nurseries each take on up to 90
extra workers during potting time.
Community nurseries are much smaller.
Run by community members, they vary
in output, at best producing 40,000
seedlings annually. Members usually
plant these seedlings on their own land.
A high performer in 2009 was Ojigo
community nursery in Adjumani, which
raised 30,000 seedlings, of which they
sold 10,000, earning the equivalent of
about US$500.
Top: Albezia seedlings, and forester
Joseph Otim in Tree Talk’s Paloga
nursery;
Left: Foresters SP Amunau and Dennis
Sidonyi in the Tree Talk Adjumani nursery;
Senna seedlings.
Below: large numbers of women and
children gather to pot seedlings in the
Paloga nursery.
10
TREE TALK, STF
Seed sources
Since 2008, Tree Talk has collected or
bought from communities over 3,000
kg of tree seed. This seed raises about
80% of all seedlings in its northern
nurseries.
Buying seed from communities is
another way to show that trees have
value. Tree Talk has been paying UGX
7,000 per kg of mahogany seed and
UGX 5,000 per kg of Senna siamea,
Markhamia and Balinites aegyptica.
Children often use the earnings for
school fees.
Germination rates of freshly collected
seed are high. Mahogany is particularly
easy with over 90% germinating.
Tree seed expert Sebastian Walaita
carried out a mapping of seed sources
in the north in 2009. The data points
are being collected with GPS. Fruiting
seasons are spread through out the
year. Care is taken to use seeds from
the local gene pool to avoid genetic
drift. The aim is collect from over 15
mother trees for indigenous species.
Tree Talk is seeking collaborations
with universities and organizations
such as Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.
Ecologists, botanists and foresters
interested in this vital aspect of Tree
Talk’s work are encouraged to get in
touch with us.
For the national distribution of tree
seed with the newspaper, Tree Talk
buys seed from Uganda’s National Tree
Seed Centre.
Top: a display of the seeds of some of
the tree species that Tree Talk plants.
Right: Sidonyi cleans seed.
Below right: A child seeling Markhamia
seed to Tree Talk. Below left: the
gorgeous two-toned seed for Afezelia
africana. Behind is the seed pod for the
Delonix fame tree.
11
TREE TALK, STF
Species Number %
Teak 6867 1.4
Neem 31811 6.5
Gmelina 21681 4.4
Melia 5877 1.2
Musizi 136.0 0.03
Orange/lemon 2111.0 0.43
Mahogany 48105 9.8
Senna 81193 16.6
Balinites 229.0 0.05
Jack fruit 737.0 0.15
Markhamia 201183 41
Albizia 37738 7.7
Jambula 9510 1.90
Shea 20.0 0.004
Delonix 1791.0 0.37
Afzelia 3355 0.68
Eucalyptus 19383 4.0
Tamarindus 4260 0.87
Mvule 6989 1.43
Mango 680.0 0.14
Total 490,425 100
District Trees Acres
Adjumani 171,312 367
Amuru 201,748 432.2
Kitgum 169,314 362.7
Moyo 88,800 190.4
Gulu 43,377 132
Yumbe 71,139 152.4
Total 745,690 1636.6
Trees/acres planted in 2009 by district
Species raised in 2009 by central nurseries
Tree species
Tree Talk strongly promotes indigenous
species or naturalised trees, like jack
fruit. In 2009 the Tree Talk central
nurseries in Gulu, Moyo, Adjumani,
Amuru and Kitgum produced 490,000
seedlings of 20 different tree species.
Tree Talk has had varied experience
with each species. NGOs wanting to
know more about each – how they
germinate, behave in the field and so
on -- are welcome to contact us.
Tree Talk’s strategy is to prioritize
species that are indigenous, resistant
to drought, not palatable to livestock,
resistant to termites, and able to
coppice when cut.
Follow up has found a high survival rate
at one year over 70% for Markhamia
lutea, which seems to perform well in
woodlots and accounted for 40% of
the trees raised in 2009. Indigenous
species have higher survival rates than
exotics.
Tree Talk raised 8,000 seedlings of
the endangered Afezelia africana but
has found that they are “unhappy” as
boundary trees. This species performs
better in the presence of a “nurse tree,”
as does Mvule.
Photos from top R to bottom L:
Musizi (Maesopsis), Mvule, Senna,
Markhamia and Mahogany.
12
TREE TALK, STF
Planting Out
The Tree Talk team guides the farmers
or teachers through land preparation,
lining out, pitting and actual planting.
After successful nursery work
and sensitization and training of
beneficiaries, the next step is to plant
the seedlings in woodlots for fuel wood,
along boundaries to demarcate land,
in compounds for shade, and to enrich
degraded forests.
Planting takes place during the major
rains: March-June, August-November.
When the recipient is ready, Tree Talk
dispatches seedlings. After delivery,
seedlings are kept for two days to
stabilize them before planting; they are
watered morning and evening.
When soil moisture is favorable, a
pit measuring 25 x 25cm is dug with
the top soil and sub soil placed in
separate locations. The top (black) soil
is returned to the pit and a smaller pit
made in the middle where the seedling
is planted. The polythene tube is
removed for re-use.
A big threat to seedlings is livestock,
especially in woodlots close to former
IDP camps where re-stocking of
animals has been done. Markhamia is
not palatable but Mvule is. Trampling is
a problem.
Another challenge is drought, which
stresses seedlings planted outside the
normal rainy season. This was a major
disaster to Eucalyptus cameldulensis
and Leucaena leuocephala which were
planted in the early years of Tree Talk.
Top left: Dennis Sidonyi demarcating a
woodlot with a teacher. Top right: Tree
Talk’s SP Amunau and colleagues plant a
seedling;
Right: a child planting a seedling. A
pupil waters a newly-planted seedling.
Bottom: a well-protected Mvule sapling.
1S
TREE TALK, STF
Monitoring
The Tree Talk on-the-ground model
is proven and working. Project files,
record books and other tools capture
data from schools, institutions and
community groups.
Results
Almost 1,000 schools now have Tree
Talk woodlots.
Proceeds from woodlots have paid
salaries for teachers not on the
government pay roll.
Students read in the shade of Tree
Talk trees on hot afternoons, and the
trees shield schools from wind.
Some schools harvest poles and fuel
wood from their woodlots, which
reduces the toll on forests.
Communities are more aware about
the need to preserve forests and
voluntarily take part in Tree Talk
activities, indicating an attitude shift.
Tree Talk supports local






governments, most of which had
no nursery before Tree Talk started
work the respective districts.
Tree Talk nurseries are the main
suppliers of seedlings for planting in
all districts of operation.
The nurseries are used for
practical learning for schools and
communities.
Vulnerable women and youth get part
time employment and income from
nursery work.
Biomass that had been lost around
camps is being restored.
Tree Talk helps science teaching in
schools.
Pupils take seedlings to their homes,
raising interest among parents.
Tree Talk trees help conserve soil.
Prisoners appreciate skills from Tree
Talk and expect to raise trees when
they return home.
Prison authorities expect to reduce
spending on fuel by 50% by 2011.
Youths in vocational training
institutes learn about forestry and
how to manage the environment.
Top: some of the documentation
required to keep track of seedlings
delivered to schools. Every school has a
fle. Left: Tree Talk’s SP Amunua on a
monitoring trip. Tree Talk results being
presented at a conference. Positive
results include employment, and a better
environment for learning










14
TREE TALK, STF
Evaluations
2003 evaluation
Conducted after the first year of
distributing Tree Talk newspaper and
tree seeds Uganda-wide, the report
notes that about 200 kg of tree seed
of 10 different species were sent to
all schools. Conducted by district
forestry officers and officials from the
then-Forestry Sector Coordination
Secretariat of the Ministry of Lands,
Water and Environment, other findings
were that about half of all schools
(8,000) had set up tree nurseries.
2007 evaluation
Conducted by carbon expert Bill
Farmer (www.ugandacarbon.org)
after one year of the Tree Talk-WFP
collaboration in Gulu, Lira, Apac, Pader,
Kitgum, Moroto, Kotido and Kumi, this
evaluation found that:
Over 240,000 trees had been planted
in over 200 schools
Over 60% of the trees planted were
surviving after one year
Cost per tree surviving was about
USD $1
Close to 5,000 people (54% women)
participated directly in the project
The project was providing a locally
appropriate demonstration on how to
grow trees
Besides planting trees,the project
had also imparted valuable skills to





pupils, parents and teachers that were
expected to have a lasting impact
as people leave IDP camps for their
homes.
2008 evaluation
This evaluation was conducted after
year three of the WFP-funded fuelwood
and conservation project in northern
Uganda and year one of the FAO-funded
nutrition enhancement project in Gulu
and Kaberamaido. It verified that:
About 230,000 trees had been
planted in 190 schools in five
districts.
Overall survival rate was 61%.
Markhamia lutea and Senna siamea
attained the highest survival rates of
64% and 69% respectively.
Demand for tree seedlings was
increasing.
Teachers from 174 schools had been
trained in tree management and
agro-forestry.
86% of schools in northern Uganda
received Tree Talk newspapers.
The cost per tree planted was
estimated at UGX348 (US$0.174).
The cost per tree surviving at one
year was about UGX576 (UD$0.288).
Top left: Mahogany seedlings in the
nursery. Top right: A man watering
Upper right: S Walaita checking on
a nursery. Right: a Tree Talk school
woodlot; pupils get seedlings.








15
TREE TALK, STF
Tree Talk “on the ground” in Northern Uganda (some Karamoja, Kumi, Yumbe)
Activity 2006 2007 2008/9 2010 Total
Trees planted 244,408 309,128 829,327 480,000 1,862,863
Acres planted 524 662 1,777 600 3,563
Seeds collected (kg) - - 2,763 250 3,013
Community groups enrolled - - 138 - 138
Community members trained - - 688 - 688
Schools covered 226 196 479 - 901
Teachers trained 200 254 924 - 1,378
New nurseries started 5 2 5 - 12
Funds received (million UGX) 265 219 783 354 1,621
Funders WFP
WFP &
FAO
USAID/
WCS
USAID/
WCS,
DANIDA
Since 2006, when Tree Talk
started raising seedlings and
promoting woodlots, it has
planted over two million trees.
Almost 1,000 schools have
about three acres fo woodlot
each.
Besides purchasing from the
National Tree Seed Centres,
Tree Talk has collected or
purchased from communities
about 3,500 kg of tree seed.
Annex 1:
Summary of Tree
Talk on-the-ground
achievements
Annex 2: Tree Talk newspapers
16
SInce the frst issue was launched in
March 2002, Tree Talk has appeared
14 times. Above are covers of three
of the editions funded by World Food
Programme.
TREE TALK, STF
They address a range of “tree and
people” matters, from how and when
to collect seed, to the importance
of natural forest, to the difference
between a woodlot and a forest.
With these papers were sent out seeds
for Markhamia lutea, Podocarpus
latifolius, Senna siamea and Balinites
aegyptica.
Table of contents
Background 1

About us 2
Why trees?3
Donors 4
Tree Talk newspaper plus seed 5
On-the-ground work 6
Schools 6
Communitygroups 7
Prisons,barracks,healthunits 8
IDPcamps 8
Radiofortrees9
How we grow trees10
Treenurseries10
Seedsources 11
Treespecies 12
Plantingout 13
Monitoring 14
Evaluation 15
Annex 1 & 2 16
This report was compiled by C Watson and SP Amunau in August 2010.
The designers were Gordon Turibamwe and Michael Kalanzi (MeBK). Tree Talk’s website
is www.treetalk.or.ug. All the editions of its newspapers and all its reports can be found on
that website. All Straight Talk Foundation materials can be found on its general Scribd site:
http://www.scribd.com/Straight%20Talk%20Foundation. For more information,
please contact info@treetalk.or.ug
Tree Talk - working
for people and trees
Tree Talk believes that trees help to solve many
problems: degraded watersheds, lack of firewood,
hunger, loss of habitat and biodiversity, erosion,
climate change, the poor health of women and
children, poverty & more.
Straight Talk Foundation, Plot 4, Acacia Avenue, Kololo,
P.O.Box 22366, Kampala, Uganda, Tel: (General) +256 312 262 030/1,
Tel: (Direct) +256 312 266 148, E-mail: info@treetalk.or.ug
Working with students
Surveys by Tree Talk have found that many
schools have 10 to 50 acres of largely
unused land, particularly in the north and
northeast. Some have as much as one
square mile. The conditions are ideal for
tree growing.
In addition, boarding schools can consume
six to eight lorries of frewood a term as
they must provide three meals a day to their
students. This is costly to the school and
damaging to the environment. The wood is
almost always taken from the natural bush.
The enthusiasm of teachers
SInce 2002, Tree Talk has trained
over 1500 teachers, many of whom
have gone on to raise woodlots at their
schools.
Often grown from seed that the teachers
collect themselves, these woodlots
provide income and shade to the
schools. Tree Talk is now working with
prison warders.
The struggle to collect good seed
The best way to collect the seed of Milicia
excelsa -- Mvule or Iroko, as it is known in West
Africa -- is by using high tree climbers.
In the dramatic photos on the right, tree seed
expert Sebastian Walaita hauls a young climber
into the upper branches of a fne Mvule in
Ngetta, Lira. Small branches laden with the fruit
are then cut and the fruit harvested and pulped
to extract the seed.
Tree Talk
Straight Talk Foundation
Plot 4, Acacia Avenue, Kololo
Box 22366, Kampala, Uganda
Tel: (General) +256 312 262 030/1
Tel: (Direct) +256 312 266 148
E-mail: info@treetalk.or.ug
A tropical hardwood emerges with lonely dignity from Kyambura
gorge in Bushenyi, Western Uganda.
The gorge, two kilometres long, slices through the savannah that
runs down to Lakes Edward and George. It contains a spectacular
tropical forest and an isolated community of chimpanzees.
Local people collect most of their firewood from the gorge, which
lies partly within Queen Elizabeth National Park. Tree Talk hopes
to help them to become self-sufficent in fuel for cooking and
timber for building by raising 800,000 seedlings and supporting
them to grow trees.

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