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With this Tree Talk, your school will receive seed for Albizia or Terminalia. Set up a school tree nursery in 2010 and "green" your school.
Right: a pupil with Lusambya seed in Tree Talk's Moyo nursery.
This tree in Semliki holds tonnes of carbon. Its roots allow water to percolate deep into the soil and flow to your borehole! Report illegal tree cutting to National Forestry Authority PRO Moses Watasa on 077-2-976398. Protect your watershed.
Keep trees on your watershed
These hills in Bundibugyo need more trees to remain stable, avoid landslides and keep the watershed full of clean and plentiful water for people and animals. Photo: K Tadie. Even if you stay far from a river or lake, you still live in a watershed because the rain that falls on your home will find its way to some stream, lake, swamp or aquifer. Try this: take an open umbrella and turn it upside down in the rain. All the rain that hits the umbrella will gather at the bottom in the center of the umbrella. An umbrella is like a watershed, collecting all the water that falls into it and bringing it to one place. A watershed has three key functions:
e all live in a watershed. A watershed is simply land and the water that runs through it, ending up in a river or lake. Trees are an extremely important part of watersheds. Without trees, water will flow too quickly and not have time to slowly enter the ground and fill your groundwater. Streams will run dry and water bodies will become dirty. So let us learn more about watersheds!
1. receive water from the atmosphere (rain); 2. store water in the ground so that we can get it from wells and bore holes; 3. move water through the soil until it reaches a river or lake. Healthy watersheds bring us clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing. A healthy watershed is created by trees. Protect trees and grow new ones.
When rain comes, some falls into streams and flows away. Some rain falls on hard surfaces, such as rock or tarmac, and washes into rivers as "run-off". Some rain falls on the soil and enters or infiltrates it and becomes "groundwater".
Once water infiltrates the soil, it moves downwards through "percolation". Percolation happens because of gravity, the force which pulls all things from high places to lower ones. Gravity is why water always flows from a high place, like a mountain ridge, to a lower place like a valley. Groundwater also moves through the soil. Some water ends up in streams, while some joins underground water bodies called aquifers. Water from aquifers feeds your bore hole.
Soil has pores that allow it to absorb water. Soil that cannot hold anymore water is "saturated".
Trees bring fast results
Good income from sale of seedlings: UGX 500-700 for an indigenous seedling, UGX 450-550 for a pine seedling. Right: a Tree Talk women's group in Adjumani. Jobs for foresters. Tree Talk's Immaculate Chelangat holds a diploma from Nyabyeya Forestry College in Masindi.
Money from tree seed. This young girl in Moyo made UGX 100,000 from selling 20 kg of mahogany seed to Tree Talk.
Healthy wetlands full of fish and water.
2 Tree Talk, April 2010
Replanting a degraded watershed in Gulu P
ece watershed, near Gulu Town, is a much smaller watershed than the Nile River watershed, but it brings water for tens of thousands of people living in Gulu and Oyam districts. Water from Pece flows into the Toci River, which then flows to the Nile. Toci is a tributary of the Nile, which means that it is a smaller river that flows into the Nile. Big rivers can have many tributaries. But now the people of Pece watershed are suffering. Ojera Julius, of Abole village, said they used to get water from Abole stream, a tributary of Pece. "For the first time our well is dry. We now have to walk long distances to another borehole. The environment had become too bare of trees. The climate is affecting the water level." Lakwat-Omer village, neighbouring Abole, is also part of the Pece watershed and shares its water problems. Residents of Lakwat-Omer and Abole formed a community association to improve the health of their watershed. The group is called Ribeber, which means “unity is good." Tree Talk teamed up with Ribeber in 2009 to plant 3,500 seedlings of mahogany and albizia. Amunau Simon Peter, Tree Talk Coordinator, says: "As trees grow, they increase water retention and revitalise boreholes. With fully grown trees, you can be sure of better water availability. But where land is bare, water runs The shading shows all the land being replanted by Tree Talk and Ribeber. In 2010, Tree Talk will help plant another 12,000 seedlings and train the community members in maintaining their own tree nurseries. away to streams and flows away quickly. In the replanted areas of Pece, we may see higher water levels within 10 years. But other areas also need to act to see real change." Edea Lucy, Tree Talk Data Officer, handing over mahogany and albizia seedlings to Ribeber.
Watersheds and forests contribute 40% of the rains received in Uganda. This wetland in Pece is healthy. Planting trees can increase water supply.
Uganda and the Nile watershed
Aquifer: underground water supply accessed by wells and boreholes. Erosion: when the earth’s surface is worn away by water and wind Tributary: a river that flows into a larger river Infiltration: when water on the surface enters the soil Porous: a porous material is full of tiny spaces, allowing liquids or gasses to pass through Run-off: rain which flows over the earth’s surface into a river, stream or lake Impermeable: a material that is impermeable does not allow water to pass through.
watershed can be any shape or size, very big or very small. Large watersheds are made up of many smaller watersheds. The Nile is an extremely large watershed that includes the countries of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt. In Uganda, over 231,366 square kilometres belong to the Nile River basin – that means almost all land in Uganda contributes water to the Nile!
Uganda's 4 water catchments
The Nile River basin
In Uganda there are four major water catchment areas: Lake Victoria in the south; Lake Albert in the west; Lake Kyoga in the centre; and the Upper Nile in the north. But they are all connected: Lake Victoria in the south is linked to Lake Kyoga in the centre. The Albert Nile connects Lake Kyoga to Lake Albert in the west, which is also fed by water from the Semuliki River. Lake Albert continues to the Upper Nile in northern Uganda, then on to Sudan and Egypt. Watersheds are affected by activities far away. In Adjumani, fish have become few because there is less water in the Nile. Destruction of forests and swamps in western Uganda - 600 kilometres away! has reduced the water flowing to the small streams that feed the Nile.
How healthy is your watershed?
Water: Is it clean or full of rubbish? A shine of many colours may indicate that oil has polluted the water. Is it clear, or full of weeds and tiny green and brown plants called algae? Algae is an indication of fertilizers in the water. River banks: Bare spots along the banks may mean that there is too
Look at a river near your home
even during times of no rain. Shade: Trees near the river provide shade and a good environment for fish. Wildlife: Animals also like healthy rivers. If there are no fish, frogs, birds or insects near the water, something may be wrong.
much soil in the river and it is being left behind. Very steep banks are an indication of erosion. Trees along the river banks help to reduce erosion: do not farm here. Availability of water: Rivers look different in the dry and rainy seasons. However, healthy watersheds should help keep rivers flowing for longer,
A boy stands where his home once was. It was swept away by the terrible landslide in Budada, near Mbale. Trees stabilise mountains so that soil does not fall down into the valley with heavy rains.
Tree Talk, April 2010
Damaged watersheds mean people suffer
he most important way to protect your watershed is to protect existing trees and plant new ones.
Twenty years ago, 30% of land in Uganda had forests. Today, it is less than 10%. Watersheds that lack trees cause problems for people. In hilly areas, there can be landslides; in lowlying areas, there is the danger of flooding. Without trees to replenish rivers, women and children walk long distances to fetch water. Drought leads to crop failure and unhealthy livestock. How do trees help? Every part of a tree supports a healthy watershed. Roots hold water, keeping too much rain from reaching the river at once, which can lead to flooding. In the dry season, roots slowly release the water they are holding, adding water to rivers and preventing drought.Sometimes strong waters from run-off carry away fertile soil. Where soil has washed away, we say the land is eroded. Tree roots hold soil and nutrients. Serious erosion has changed the course of the Semuliki River, on the border of Uganda and D.R. Congo. Due to over-cultivation, there are no trees to hold the soil. The river banks have shifted: it is now difficult to tell where the border is. Tree leaves also hold water. If you enter a forest after a rain, you will hear water dripping for many hours afterwards. Leaves catch rain and then release it so that it enters the soil slowly. Mahogany trees have big leaves for catching water and improving watershed health.
Tree-cutting causes landslides
n example of an unhealthy, unstable and very dangerous watershed was in Bududa District. On 2 March 2010, a landslide buried three villages on the slopes of Mt Elgon. At least 90 people were killed in the landslide and over 300 are still missing. As many as 1 million people may have to leave the area in case more landslides occur. Bududa is heavily populated: as many as 1,059 people are living in 1 square kilometre of land, whereas the national average is 161 people per square kilometre. Too many people are inhabiting an area where there used to be lots of trees to hold the soil and prevent erosion. Many people are farming on steep slopes. Moses Mapesa, Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) writes: “Can we avoid similar disasters in future and elsewhere? Yes...The UWA have just recently concluded agreements with the Bududa local government and the community to re-plant with trees all the degraded and encroached areas in the Mt. Elgon National Park and the neighbouring areas... This arrangement allows the communities to plant trees that they benefit from in form of carbon credits and also to grow crops like cabbages, onions, passion fruits underneath the trees... This, however, will take time; trees require a minimum of 10 years to have a proper grip of the soils. Therefore, prone areas must be avoided and evacuated in these times of heavy rains." Carbon credits are payments to people who grow trees. The payment is for the carbon the growing tree absorbs. Carbon gases cause global warming.
What is a landslide?
A landslide is when soil and rock move down a slope, pulled by gravity. Landslides can be caused by earthquakes, flooding, or human activities like deforestation or construction. The Bududa landslide occurred partly because of heavy rains. Water entered the pores in the soil, making the slope heavy and unstable. Clearing of forests left the soil bare, without tree roots to hold it.
After the Bududa landslide, 5000 people were moved into temporary camps.They wait in long lines for food.
Trees stabilise hills and slow down climate change
rees help regulate the weather, or climate, but few trees cannot do the work that so many forests used to do. In December 2009, many scientists and government leaders met in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss how to prevent further climate change.
Xavier Mugumya, Forest Management Specialist at the National Forest Authority (NFA) and an international climate change negotiator, says: "At Copenhagen, countries did not conclude discussion on all the important items. But there is good will and recognition that forests contribute to regulating climate change. People need incentives to stop cutting trees.
There is a motion in place for Uganda to receive funds to support pockets of preserved natural forests. Communities should prepare themselves by starting now to protect their remaining natural forests.”
Swamps in southern Sudan and forests in D.R. Congo help the rain-making process in Uganda.
Natural forests are the best at catching and holding water and attracting rain.
This meeting was called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Uganda sent a team of 60 representatives to Copenhagen..
Tree Talk, April 2010
Tree Talk raising seedlings for schools
In 2009 Tree Talk raised 490,000 seedlings in its six tree nurseries in Yumbe, Adjumani, Moyo, Kitgum, Gulu and Amuru. These were distributed to 350 schools, creating 350 acres of woodlots. Tree Talk supported 40 community groups to raise an additional 255,000 trees. In all, 20 different types of trees were raised, including 48,000 mahoganies, 200,000 Lusambya and 7000 Mvule. If you are a school or CBO anywhere in Uganda and would like to work more closely with Tree Talk, write to PO Box 22366, Kampala or call Tree Talk's Gaster Kiyingi on 077-2-448110. He says: "Tree growing is a valuable venture, capable of earning schools a lot of money, but it requires planning." Thanks to their woodlot, Payipi PS in Pader has paid teachers' salaries. Koro Abili PS in Gulu renovated old classrooms. Other schools around the country have also grown trees from Tree Talk seed. Write and tell us how your school has used its tree seed. Best letters win a Tree Talk T-shirt.
Tree Talk's nurseries in Kitgum and Adjumani (inset) produced over 300,000 seedlings in 2009.
Free seed for schools
With this Tree Talk, schools in the water catchment areas of Albert and Kyoga get seed for Albizia chinensis. It is good for timber, shade, erosion control and stabilising slopes. Schools in the water catchment areas of Upper Nile and Victoria receive seed for Terminalia superba, the "umbrella tree." It is good for timber and shade. Plant your tree seed as soon as you receive it: • For Terminalia, remove the "wings" on the outside of the seed if they are still there. Soak the seed in cold water for 24 hours. • For Albizia, wash and soak in water for 18 hours. • Fill a pot or polythene bag with soil. Place the seed just beneath the surface. Keep the pot in the shade. Water every morning and evening. • Albizia will germinate in 7 days and Terminalia in 15-25 days. • As the seedlings grow, slowly remove the shade. • Transplant Terminalia seedlings to the field 4 weeks after germination, and Albizia after 6-8 weeks. Keep watering.
Defend your trees from bush ﬁres
Protect your trees 1. Create a fire line around your woodlot: Remove bushes to make a bare space 5m wide all the way around to stop fire from entering. 2. Build a fire break: Clear a line 3m wide down the middle of your woodlot. Remove all bushes and brush. If a fire starts in the woodlot, the fire break will prevent it from spreading. 3. Remove all dead brush and leaves from your woodlot. There are only small, shortterm gains from bush burning. Does it make sense to burn trees while chasing one edible rat worth UGX 10,000 when two acres of pine at three years of age are worth UGX 5 million?
Bush fires can occur naturally, but humans also start fires for hunting, clearing land or out of recklessness. Bush fires can get out of control, burning homes and killing people. They destroy trees and damage soil fertility by removing moisture and killing small, useful organisms that break down nutrients. Francis Oja, District Forestry Officer in Adjumani, says: “We are talking to communities about these dangers. Under a new ordinance, people who burn will be fined, made to do community service work, or imprisoned.” Radio listeners in the north know the voice of Kaka Simon! He took part in a Tree Talk workshop and has not stopped talking about trees! He says, "I have personally witnessed catchment areas drying off. We used to have hippopotamus in the Pagire River but now you move on foot anywhere and you can’t even step on water. We as media can be fundamental in bringing environmental change. I started spreading messages on my radio programs. Now the community always asks questions and shares stories." Tune in to Kaka’s program on 92.4 Luo FM.
Anyone can plant trees!
Angela Anyua is a member of Watemu Lapainat Agroforestry Association, a group of 38 women who grow trees in the Pece watershed in Gulu. Angela sold 100 trees as poles, earning UGX 800,000 to pay for her daughter’s fees at Gulu University. After training from Tree Talk, Adjumani Government Prison planted 12,520 trees and are aiming for 1 million! Says ASP Ebong Patrick: “Any environment with trees is conducive to human beings. Soon every prison will take up tree planting. We need to reforest
Tree Talk is a project of Straight Talk Foundation Plot 4 Acacia Avenue, Kololo PO Box 22366, Kampala. Tel. 0312-262030/1.
Dear Tree Talk - After the forests were cleared, rainfall decreased and didn't fall in the right season. There have been terrible floods in recent years because there is not enough vegetation to control the speed of the rainwater. Without trees, the fertile soil is washed away. Thembo H, 12, Bundibugyo PS Dear Tree Talk - My family is normally burning charcoal and getting money for school fees. But if you burn trees in your area you cannot receive enough rainfall. Mutebi R, Greenland PS, Bundibugyo
How has your school used Tree Talk seed, or benefited from trees? Write to PO Box 22366, Kampala. Best letters win T-shirts!
because with this climate oscillation of ours, anything can happen.” Above: S4 students from the tree-planting club at Adjumani SS
This issue was funded by DANIDA, with a contribution from the WILD project, supported by USAID and led by Wildlife Conservation Society. Editor: K Manchester; Contributors: G Kiyingi, C Watson, P Nyeko ; Design: AD Bulamu; Reviewers: G Kiyingi, SP Amunau
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