Message to HE the President

Your excellency, we cannot forget that in 1991-3 you created five national parks, thereby protecting vital forests: Bwindi, Semuliki, Kibale, Mgahinga and Mt Elgon. We also recall that in 2002 you endorsed Tree Talk. We urge you to remain a steadfast environmentalist in your fourth term and empower the institutions that manage forests.

2011 1 June 11 No. Vol.

RESPECT! Some of the students from Gayaza High School, Kings College Budo, Makerere College, Entebbe SS and St Kizito Bugolobi during tree planting at Kitezi landfill outside Kampala.


Forests need wildlife

And animals need trees & forests!

e usually think that forests grow and then animals move to live in them. But we are wrong! In fact, animals -- mammals, reptiles, birds and insects -actually create forests. Look at this drawing. Bees and butterflies are pollinating the flowers on the trees, thereby causing them to form fruits and seeds. Monkeys, birds, bats, rodents and elephants are eating the fruits and tree seeds. As these animals move through the forest and across open places, they disperse the seed. The other way seed is dispersed is by wind and water. This is how forests grow and sustain themselves. Without wildlife to help them, forests would consist of old and dying trees. The silent forest syndrome Across Africa, forests are falling silent. The animals are being hunted out for meat, skins, horns, feathers and ritual or medicinal use, captured for sale and dying because their habitat is being degraded. This Tree Talk is about the animal-forest link and how to keep it strong. Protecting animals protects forests and vice versa. We know we need forests so we can do it!

Tree Talk plants at KCC landfill
itezi landfill is Kampala city's dump. It is where trucks take the rubbish of over one million people. It is a hot place with a powerful smell. Plastic bottles, paper and discarded food are all mixed together, so recycling and composting is hard, although people are trying to make it a better place. Kitezi is a place that needs trees -- for shade, to absorb gases, capture run-off, for beauty, to shield the nearby houses, and for the workers and Marabou storks, which do a lot to make it the best place it can be under the circumstances. In late 2010 Tree Talk took action. We thank KCC landfill managers Mudanyi Michael and Kenneth Kyazze, GTZ and the environment clubs of five schools for being our partners. We planted 550 trees: Pines, Nandi flames, Lusambya, Musizi, Grevillea, Mvule, Terminalia, and swamp and oil palms. Only 25% survived. It was not surprising. The dry season was starting. The soil is hard and acidic. We are now planting another 200 during the rains to improve survival and will keep planting trees until we make Kitezi green.

IN THIS PICTURE, NOTICE THE SEED RAIN - the tree seed dispersed by bats and birds. Monkeys and elephants are also passing seed in their droppings. A rodent is burying a seed to eat later. If he forgets the seed, it may germinate into a wildling.

Tree Talk's Jonathan Kisakye fires up students with Tree Talk's rap "Do we go ahead or do we end here?" Of course, we go ahead to fight climate change and improve the world with trees.

Seed for tree nurseries
Uganda is loosing forests at a terrifying rate. Out of 506 forest reserves, only 12 are intact. Population growth is exerting intense pressure. Auena Nancy, 12, P5, Pijimo PS, says, "We cut trees for firewood and constructing houses. We also burn them to get charcoal for sale. This is how we have lost our forests and we are all affected. It is a crime to destroy forests." Yes, we must obey the law and protect forests. We need to also grow trees. Often people want to raise seedlings but lack seed. Contact us at PO Box 22366 Kampala, or 077-2564941. We will send you seed. RIGHT: A boy in Sodo Community Nursery, Pakele, Adjumani, which raised 30,000 seedlings and sold them to Tree Talk, NAADS and Farm Income Enhancement Project. Tree Talk provided training, seed and plastic pots. Raising trees can be profitable.

Tree Talk is deeply grateful to the people and government of Denmark for their generous support. We pledge to continue growing trees to make the world a better place.

Thank you!

2 Tree Talk, June 2011


Forests are homes for insect pollinators
farmer's hives, they rely on trees such as tamarind and acacia to make honey. Forests also contain water sources for honeybees. Honeybees are not the only useful insects. Wild pollinators include over 2600 other types of bees, moths, beetles and butterflies. Flies are second in importance to bees as pollinating insects. Cocoa depends upon flies. Tomatoes depend on moths and beetles for pollination. By conserving trees and forests, we protect the insects that pollinate the food we eat. FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. A fly on a cocoa flower. Beetles on a daisy. A moth uses its long tongue to drink nectar from a flower. A butterfly on a plant. Without bats' pollination and seed-dispersing services, such as ecosystems could collapse. Almost 90% of the diet of strawcoloured fruit bats consists of the fruit of Mvule, one of our most valued trees. During peak fruiting season, a big bat colony can disperse millions of Mvule seeds over an area of hundreds of miles. Bats are the sole pollinators of the famous Baobab tree. Bats are also animals we need to protect.

ollination is the process by which pollen is transferred from the anthers to the stigma in flowers, thereby enabling fertilization. Some plants are pollinated by wind. Others are pollinated by insects and even small birds and mammals. As humans we depend upon pollination for food. It is the pollination that causes seeds, fruit and vegetables to form. The pollinators we know best are honeybees. They perform a great service for people by pollinating many crops, including sunflowers, oranges and lemons, mangoes, pawpaw, water melon, pumpkins, guava, jack fruit and coffee among others. Kangave Alice, an insect expert at the Ministry of Agriculture,

A bee with pollen on his leg. Honeybees are also "wildlife" that depend on forests and bush. Coffee harvests are 20% higher near forest fragments that house wild honeybees. In Africa, bee pollination is worth 100 times the value of the honey harvest. says, “Honeybee populations go hand in hand with fertilization of trees and crops. Bees in Uganda have reduced because of deforestation and wild fires. This has led to crops having less fruits.” Trees are essential for honeybees. Whether they live wild in the forest or in a

ed Parrots are valuable se ts. dispersers in fores Unfortunately, they are often kept in cages by In unscrupulous people. nated 2011 Tree Talk do to UGX500,000 to UWEC d 230 fee parrots rescued from smugglers.

Bats are pollinators and super-seed dispersers
ost of us do not like bats. Sometimes people kill them because of mis perceptions. But we need to think again. Bats are among the most hard working animals, fulfilling tasks that are vital to healthy ecosystems and human economies. Bats consume vast amounts of insects, including damaging


LEFT: A strawcoloured fruit bat. RIGHT: A bat pollinates a Baobab flower.

agricultural pests. Pregnant or nursing bat mothers can consume their body weight in insects in one night!

Fruit-eating bats pollinate and disperse seeds that are critical to maintaining and restoring tropical rainforests.

Nkalate is a valuable timber tree. Also called Mululu or Chrysophyllum, children love its fruits. Sadly there are no young Nkalate trees growing in many forests where it had long been found.

Mammals are key in forest ecology
Budongo Forest Project. "There are diseases specific to the tree around it. By the seed getting away, the tree enhances survival." Indeed, there is often a "hostile seed environment" under the crown of the parent tree. So many trees have a strategy to ensure that seeds are carried away. "Trees with edible seeds attract animals and encourage them to act as seed carriers," says Dr Emily Otali of Harvard University's chimp project in Kibaale. "Some seeds also travel hooked to the fur of animals." Not knowing the importance of animals to trees, communities often just see them as free meat and hunt them to near extinction.
Dr Babweteera's camera caught elephants, duikers, bush pigs and civet cats eating Nkalate fruit. Children also love the fruit.

Besides reducing seed dispersal, hunting of animals like wild pigs means that lions and other predators have to starve or eat livestock, which brings conflict with humans. Big carnivores have vanished from many forests and can only be found in protected grassland parks such as Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Parks. Camera trap surveys by Wildlife Conservation Society found no leopards in Rwenzori, Bwindi or Kibale or Kasyoha Kitomi or Kalinzu forests. Over 900,000 tourists came to Uganda in 2010, bringing in $600 million in foreign exchange. They came to see big animals like leopards!

Hunting hurts forests

Reason? The Nkalate tree needs elephants, civet cats, bush pigs and antelopes to spread its seed. Where these animals have disappeared or are rare, like in Mabira and Budongo forests, no young Nkalate are growing. Many other types of trees in Uganda depend on animals to spread their seed. We might imagine that a seed grows into a tree just by falling on the ground under its mother tree. But this is wrong. "A tree usually struggles to get its seed away from itself," says Dr Fred Babweteera of

Fewer animals means less timber, less fruit for children and reduced biodiversity. Animals need conservation.

n the 1970s, soldiers reduced wildlife numbers to a fraction of what they should be. Rhinos were wiped out entirely. Since then the situation has improved but it is still fragile. Lions number 400, down from thousands in the 1960s, and they are declining. Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park has decreased from 200 in 2000 to 140 today. The park now has more cattle than Uganda kob, and cattlekeepers often poison lions. In Murchison and Kidepo, lions get caught in snares for antelopes. Uganda kob numbers reached 30,000 in 1999 but have fallen to 8000. Uganda is home to about 4400 chimps,


Our threatened wildlife


Tree Talk, June 2011

but numbers are declining: 600 km2 of forest has been lost in the last ten years in Kibale and Hoima, an area larger than Budongo. Since one chimp requires about one km2 of forest, this may have led to the loss of about 600 chimps.

Giraffes number about 300, mostly in Murchison. In Kidepo, lions are preying on the calves of the 22 giraffe that remain! Uganda has less than ten Cheetah. They survive in Karamoja in Kidepo and Pian Upe. Ostriches are also declining. In the 1960s there were tens

Risks of bush meat

of thousands of elephants which decreased in the 1970s because of trade in ivory. Since 1986, elephants have increased to about 4200. Also, the human population has increased from 8 to 33 million people. So today human-elephant conflict can

be severe. Right, men dig a trench in Ishasha, near Queen Elizabeth National Park, to keep elephants away from their gardens. Patrick Agaba of Uganda Conservation Foundation says bees and chili bushes can also help keep off these huge mammals.

POACHING AND HUNTING ARE ILLEGAL. If you find a wild animal in distress, call Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) on 041-4-320520 or 071-8-440126. If an animal disturbs your community, do not kill it. UWEC can stage a rescue. So far in 2011 UWEC has rescued 10 pythons. You can also call UWA on 041-4-355000 or 077-2-733783.

Barbara, UWEC animal nurse
s humans disturb forests, new diseases are entering the human population. In the last century two-thirds of new communicable diseases suffered by people originated in wildlife. These include HIV/AIDS, SARS, bird flu and Ebola and Marburg, which cause uncontrolled bleeding in humans:. "The point is that we are destroying the forests and getting a lot more contact with animals so we get their diseases," says Dr Frank Kaharuza, research director for Centers for Disease Control in Entebbe. The boy above is suffering from monkeypox, a viral disease related to smallpox. It causes skin lesions, blindness, and death in 10% of cases. It is passed from wild animals, mostly squirrels, to people, who then pass it to each other through physical contact or


Barbara Alupo, 29, has handraised dozens of injured and orphaned wild animals. "Handraising means I feed, train, treat and play with them," says UWEC's animal health technician since 2005. contaminated objects such as bed sheets. Monkeypox is not in Uganda yet but it is a big problem in Congo; it has cropped up even in Ghana and the USA. In the Congo basin one million metric tonnes of bush meat is eaten a year; hunting is a greater threat to its biodiversity than deforestation. In Kashoyi-Kitome forest in western Uganda monkeys have declined by 50% since 2001. Are they being eaten? Will monkeypox or new diseases emerge? Humans need protein, and Ugandans eat only 5 kg of meat a year compared to the 50 kg that World Health Organisation recommends. But our need for meat far exceeds the natural replacement of wildlife. Bush meat has risk of disease and is not a solution.

Barbara feeds a serval kitten, brought by a concerned citizen from Kitgum. Its brother (below) died shortly after this photo was taken. Wild animals are delicate. LRA from St Mary's Aboke. Despite this, she passed A levels in biology, chemistry, geography and maths and went on to study Wildlife Health and Management at Makerere. "The animals reward me by remembering me when I meet them," she says. You too can work for wild animals. It is a noble career.

When humans are cruel to animals, Barbara feels sad. Despite her expert care, the baby potto below did not survive. Pottos are shy gentle nocturnal animals that live in trees. People had slaughtered its mother for no reason. However, the ringtail monkey (centre below) is growing well. Congolese poachers killed its parents for food on a hunting trip inside Uganda. Barbara knows how much meat a leopard needs and how to prepare an orphaned eagle for release back into the wild. Her day starts at 8 am

with lab work. Sometimes she rushes to UWEC's hospital at night for emergencies, like the recent birth of two lion cubs in the rain. With other girls, Barbara was abducted by the


t is easy to get demoralised about the environment - the piles of charcoal sacks in Nakasongola, the drained wetlands, the destruction of forests along the Fort Portal road. But Tree Talk has found that with small interventions -- a sachet of seed, the gift of a wheelbarrow and plastic potting material, a radio show -- people step up to growing and safeguarding trees. In 2010 Tree Talk supported the growing of 830,000 trees in northern Uganda and thousands more across the nation. In all it grew 21 species of trees: 3% of seedlings raised were Mvule, 10% were Mahogany and 30% were the useful indigenous tree Lusambya, or Markhamia lutea.

Tree Talk answers people's desire for trees I
In 2011 Tree Talk aims to raise 2.4 million trees in the north and tens of thousands across Uganda. Every school, church, mosque, barracks and prison needs a woodlot, shade and windbreaks. Become a Tree Talk partner. Contact us.

Tree Talk, June 2011

ABOVE: A Tree Talk woodlot at Amuda PS in Dokolo. LEFT: Tree Talk's SP Amunau (back to camera) talks to staff in the Pader Tree Talk nursery. Growing trees takes concentration.

Pupils at Paloga PS in Lamwo have a practical class session in Tree Talk's nursery. TOP INSERT: mahogany seeds germinate.

Tree Talk helps pupils from Julina Memorial School for the Deaf in Mityana set up a tree nursery. Farmers at Tree Talk & Eco-Trust carbon credit trainings. Trees capture carbon as they grow. Since excess carbon in the atmosphere causes global warming, farmers can receive "credits" (cash) for growing trees. Tree Talk chose 70 farmers, of whom 30 were women. The cash they receive will vary by species planted. But they can expect to earn about UGX1.5 million for 400 trees left to grow for ten years. They also own the trees and can sell them for timber when they are mature.

Tree Talk works with hundreds of teachers and adults in the community. This gentleman had collected wild seedlings (wildlings) of cypress for a Tree Talk community nursery at the foot of Mt Otze, Moyo.

Your letters
We are harvesting firewood from our woodlot grown from Tree Talk seed. We use it to prepare teachers’ lunch. In 2009 we gave trees to the church for furniture. Headteacher, Ntuuro PS Kisoro Ours is a mountainous area, so it is hard to collect firewood. We buy it for UGX45,000/ month, making it UGX145,000/term. Marahi Y, Lhuhiri PS, Kasese We get firewood from the forest, but it takes us long to collect. Now we want to grow our own trees. Musoki F, P7, Kyanjuki PS, Kasese We warmly welcome Tree Talk in our school so we join hands to recover lost forests. And we just received your seeds! Agriculture teacher Aedeke Micheal, Kikonda PS We will make a seed bed with the Tree Talk seed. Science teacher, Kitara Parents School I was pleasantly surprised by the gift you sent. I needed the seed badly! I will put them to good use and keep you posted. C Kateeba, Sheema Editor's note. In June 2011, 70% of her Musizi seed germinated; she has 120 seedlings.

PO Box 22366 Kampala SMS 077-2-564491

Get seed from Tree Talk!
Tree Talk is committed to supplying tree seed to anyone who requests it. In 2010 we gave seed to 25 NGOs, 51 individuals, three churches, 112 pupils, 20 companies, 40 teachers and 306 head teachers. This is in addition to the seed we used in northern Uganda. To get seed: Please visit us at 4 Acacia Avenue, Kampala, or write, text or call us on 077-2-564941 or info@ Call before you come. We may be in the field or need time to supply the seed you want. In 2010, we gave out 260 kg of seed of Musizi, 4.5 kg of Mvule, 3 kg of Eucalyptus, 20 kg of Podocarpus, 55 kg of Terminalia and 14 kg of Grevillea. The results were fantastic. To mention just a few: R Nakalema, 15, of Wabilongo CoU PS received Musizi seed in Feb 2011. She grew 110 seedlings to plant on her grandmother's boundary. Farmer N Aliro of Soroti grew 80 Musizi, 45 Mvule and over 1000 eucalyptus seedlings from Tree Talk seed. R Mugooda raised 3000 Musizi and over 2000 Grevillea from our seed. His CBO, Kaliro Environment Conservation Project, will give them to five schools.

Tree Talk's G Kiyingi and C Watson give a prize to teacher Emily Mwaka, patron of the environment club of Entebbe SS.

In a letter OR drawing, describe a forest near you. What trees and animals does it have? Is it safe and healthy? What is happening to it?
Send to Tree Talk, PO Box



You can also collect your own seed or buy it from the National Tree Seed Centre, Namanve. Contact Joseph Ochwo, 0712995512

22366, Kampala or

This Tree Talk was funded by DANIDA, with contribution from the WILD Project, supported by USAID and led by Wildlife Conservation Society. Tree Talk is a project of Straight Talk Foundation Plot 4 Acacia Ave, Kololo, PO Box 22366, Kampala Tel. 256-312262030/1. Website:, E-mail: Design: George Mukasa

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