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Podocarpus Usambarensis is a very useful indigenous tree used in the making of beehives, crates, furniture, joinery, and plywood. It is usually called Podo in many Ugandan languages. It grows well across southern Uganda especially in Rakai.
Get a tree planting guide! Write to PO Box 22366, Kampala or email info@ treetalk.or.ug
ganda is facing an energy crisis. The use of firewood and charcoal in households, institutions and industries far outstrips the supply of trees.
Fight energy crisis with trees
and fuel-saving stoves
2 pril 201 No.1 A Vol. 12
Today the cost of charcoal in Kampala and Wakiso ranges from 70,000/= to 100,000/= per bag. Nakasongola, Mubende and Masindi are the main charcoal producers. This is devastating local forests in those districts. Some people have to walk more than eight hours to get firewood and often buy as opposed to the past when it was free of charge. In Northern Uganda, trees were plenty on land left when people moved into camps during the war. But today, trees are becoming scarce. Komakech Patrick, from Purongo, Nwoya district, says he and his family move 7-15 km for firewood. This is a whole day and they pay for the wood. His family uses a one tonne pickup of firewood every month. Buying firewood is expensive for a family without a stable income. In Purongo,
caused many social problems in the communities. Women leave their children and husbands unattended to when they go to look for firewood. This leads to violence in families as husbands are suspicious that their women are delayed by other men. Often these women and girls are raped in bushes. When we cut trees, we contribute to climate change, reduced crop yield, soil erosion and flooding among other impacts. That means that the dry seasons are becoming extremely dry while the wet seasons dangerously wet. Tree cutting reduces harvests and increases erosion, floods and wind, It dries out the soil. It also drives termites into crops!
TWO SISTERS, ONE CRISIS. Lakisa Diana, 14, P6 and her sister Stella Amaro, 15, P7 study in Gulu. They live in Purongo in Nwoya during school holidays. On the day Tree Talk met them, they had spent 10 hours looking for firewood and charcoal to buy.
firewood costs 5000/= to 10,000/= per pickup, while transportation costs 15,000/=. A bag of charcoal that lasts a family one week costs 15,000/=.
Due to the energy crisis, families have to give healthy staple food like beans that take long to cook. They now opt for fast cooking foods with
less nutritional value like boiled cassava because they require less firewood.
Lack of firewood has also
Children miss school when their families ask them to collect firewood. This makes their performance in class poor.
Steps to solve fuel scarcity
If you are in Northern Uganda, contact Tree Talk for seedlings when the rains start.
1. Start a tree nursery
Wood provides 97% of Uganda's energy. We need more tree nurseries. Tree Talk runs eight nurseries in the North. Each produces over 200,000 seedlings per season. Tree Talk also supports 35 smaller community nurseries. You can run a small nursery too. Every parish needs a nursery.
A pupil in Kwoti PS plants Markhamia (Lusambya). Tree Talk is replanting riverbanks on Mt Elgon with IUCN, Kween and Kapchorwa districts. For more, call 0312266148.
3. Use less wood/charcoal
This fuel-saving stove in Lalogi, Gulu, is made from anthill soil and chopped grass. It uses fewer wood and charcoal. Anyone can make such a stove. Write to Tree Talk PO Box 22366 Kampala for a manual or contact Ministry of Energy on 0414234733.
2 Tree Talk, April 2012
nder harsh sun, Michael Opobo from Paibona pushes a bag of charcoal to Gulu town. He sells charcoal to earn money to feed his family. But, with every tree cut for charcoal, Opobo's ability to earn from farming becomes less.
Uganda is burning: bricks,charcoal,fire,heat!
From eight middle sized trees, Opobo gets four sacks of charcoal which he sells at 25,000/= each. He however worries about what will happen when the trees are no more. He and his friends have formed a group called Kica aber (mercy is good), and they plan to start growing trees to sustain their charcoal business. Martin Ochen, a brick burner in Paicho, Gulu, says he needs 100 medium sized logs to burn 4500 bricks. These are a lot of trees being cut down. Charcoal burning and brick making hurt our biodiversity and destroy many trees of value to humans. Many species of animals, insects and plants are no more due to charcoal burning and brick making. Many trees of value like Terminalia, Combretum,
Top left: A brick kiln. Top centre: A three-stone cooking fire: most of the heat is lost out the sides of the fire and does not go into the pot! Top right: A maize field dries in the sun. Piliostigma, Albizia, Zizyphus and Vitellaria are threatened due to charcoal burning. The Worldwide Fund for Nature estimates that Uganda loses over 6000 hectares of trees a year. If this continues, Uganda will have no trees in a few years to come. This calls for immediate action from each of us. Plan your tree nursery today. Tree Talk encourages Charcoal Production Associations in Acholi to grow trees. If you live in Gulu and want more information on this, contact: Lucy Edea 0772994618 or Lanyero Pauline 0779746130. You can also visit Tree Talk Office at Gulu Youth Centre. If you live in Hoima, Nakasongola and Masindi and want to join a charcoal association call Tree Talk on 0312266148.
Top: Michael Opobo takes charcoal to Gulu town. Insert: A pile of wood for turning into charcoal.
Get cool cooking solutions
e have to cook our food. So how do we do it without damaging the environment?
Adjumani prison used to consume three lorries of firewood a month. In 1998, with the help of prison headquarters, they planted 90 acres of trees for fuel. But, says Deputy OC ASP Drani Richard, "Even with our own woodlot, we still needed efficient ways of using firewood." In 2002, with the help of GIZ, the prison acquired an institutional fuel-saving stove, which reduced the amount of firewood they use from three lorries a month to one lorry in three months! The prison grows maize on its farm and uses the cobs as a source of fuel. In a year, the prison gets about 300 bags of maize cobs.
Above: Tree Talk's Martha Akello looks at a fuel-saving stove in Adjumani prison. Before it had the stove, the prison used three trucks of firewood a month. Now they use just one truck for three months. Their maize cobs (below) are also used for cooking.
Fires burnt almost 20 Tree Talk school woodlots in 2011-12. Natural woodlands and plantations of pine and eucalyptus are getting burnt every dry season. Bush fires kill people and destroy homes, crops and property. They also wipe out important micro-organisms in the soil and kill pollinators like bees, without which we will have no honey, fruits, and crops like millet. Boys, starting a fire does not make you a man!
Drani says they plan to expand their woodlot to 150 acres and they are currently building a second wood-saving stove.
To know more about large fuel-conserving stoves, contact Ministry of energy on 0414234733.
Forests = Water
Do not burn forests or convert them into charcoal because forests are our source of water. When rain falls on forests, the branches and leaves of the trees break the force of the falling raindrops preventing erosion. The water follows roots and animal tunnels down into the soil and collects as groundwater which can be extracted through drilling.
Pollinators are our friends. They need bush in which to rest and raise their young. Bees, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, sunbirds, bats and bush babies pollinate crops so we can have good quality fruits for us.
Make your energy saving stove
nergy saving stoves are easy to make using local materials. A rocket mud stove
3 Tree Talk, April 2012
is an improved stove made from locally available building materials such as mud, dry grass, mud/clay bricks and water. It consumes firewood more efficiently than a traditional three stone stove. This means less firewood is needed to cook the same amount of food. The stove also has two holes for cooking pots which means two items can be cooked at the same time. It has the following advantages:
Efficient cooking: save 50% of firewood
• Always use dry firewood split into thin pieces. Wet firewood loses its heat value in driving off excess water. It also produces a lot of smoke. • Use a saucepan lid to cover food when cooking. This creates cooking pressure leading to faster softening of food and saving fuel. • Cut the food into smaller pieces. This reduces the amount of energy required to cook. • Soak the dry preserved foods (beans, peas etc) for at least 5 hours before starting to cook. This cuts down the amount of energy to cook such food. • Avoid filling too much water in the saucepan. It takes more energy to boil it, hence fuel wastage. • Light the fire after preparing the food for cooking.
1. Firewood fuel savings
It reduces the amount of firewood used in cooking and the time spent collecting firewood.
2. Smoke reduction
Smoke is directed out of the house creating a healthier kitchen reducing respiratory problems among women and children.
ABOVE: UPDF officers in Kitgum being trained by Tree Talk's Joseph Otim on how to make a fire shielded stove. Tree Talk trained 125 groups in Gulu and Kitgum. 5. Environmentally friendly
The stove consumes less firewood helping to reduce deforestation. It also pollutes less. • At least 90% of the saucepan’s surface area has contact with the hot gases. • Insulation around the combustion chamber and fire passages prevents heat from escaping. • The firewood shelf enables air to pass beneath the wood to fan the flames, creating a strong fire from little quantities of wood.
3. Easy to operate
The air passage beneath the fire fans the flames without the need for blowing by the person cooking.
4. Safe to use
How the Lorena mud Stove Works
The fire is shielded and can not cause burns to the children and the user.
The improved stoves are able to transfer maximum heat to the food because:
Alternative energy sources
With the overwhelming demand for firewood and limited supply of hydro electricity, there is need to look for other sources of energy.
There are many alternative energy sources that are being used in homes and instituitions. These include solar and briquettes. Powered by the sun, solar energy can be used for cooking, heating water, lighting and charging phones. In Northern Uganda, many people are enjoying the benefits of solar energy. Robert Rom from Pabbo in Amuru says: My brother bought me a solar panel in 2011. I use it to run my salon and phone charging business. I make between 20,000/= to 40,000/= a day. I do not have to worry about energy bills.
ABOVE: Proprietor of a restaurant near River Nile at Laropi. She covers food while cooking to save on energy.
Make charcoal briquettes from waste A
total of 95% of people in Uganda use wood in form of firewood and charcoal for energy. This is responsible for deforestation and soil degradation which has caused climate change. Alternatives such as hydro-electric power, paraffin and gas are scarce and too expensive. To save forests, recycle agricultural waste to manufacture charcoal briquettes. They are affordable compared to charcoal and firewood. Benefits of charcoal briquettes Using briquettes means buying less firewood and charcoal and reduced waste and rubbish. You can make money from selling briquettes. Do briquettes have any problems? Yes, fuel briquettes produce smoke which is bad for your health. Materials used for fuel briquettes may have other more profitable uses such as manure. Waste such as paper can be recycled. Briquettes should only be made from low-quality waste.
What materials can be turned into briquettes? - Anything that burns without producing toxic ash or fumes can be used to make briquettes. Examples are waste paper, water hyacinth, peelings, leaves, grass, stems, rice husks, straws, charcoal dust, sawdust and coffee husks.
to put into the briquette.
How to make briquettes from agricultural products Step 1: Sort out the materials you wish
Step 2: Chop the material up and allow them to partially decompose. Step 3: Mix the material to form a Packed briquettes on sell
liquid mixture of water and an insoluble solid material.
Step 4: Squeeze the insoluble mixture Step 5: Dry the briquettes for 3 days before use.
For briquettes made of charcoal dust, mix charcoal dust with clay soil or termite mound soil. The soil holds the charcoal dust together. Mould the mixture into your preferred shapes and let the briquettes dry. Briquettes burn easily in the stove and provide sufficient heat. You can package briquettes to sell in your community and make some money.
Agricultural waste briquettes
inside a porous cylindrical mould to create hollow round cylinders or briquettes.
Tree Talk starts in Kapchorwa
and animal waste. Yet it is the main source of piped water for Kapchorwa Town Council. To rescue the ecosystem and protect the watershed, Kapchorwa district local government demarcated a buffer area around the river. This land belongs to communities which prefer to use it to cultivate crops and rear animals. Communities are being encouraged to plant trees, especially within the buffer area which is within 200 metres of the river and its tributaries. Most of the tree species selected for planting are indigenous. However, Tree Talk nurseries are raising Markhamia, Prunus africana and Cordia africana as well as some Grevillea, eucalyptus and cypress, which are not African trees but are useful if planted in the correct places. Close to the river and its tributaries, communities will be helped to grow bamboo and palms and to allow natural regeneration of trees. Wild seedlings of species such as Prunus africana will be collected from nearby Mt Elgon National Park. Trees grown in the 200 metre band along the waterways belong to the owners of the land. Above: One of the tributaries of River Atar. Only one tree -- a Prunus africana -- is still standing. Inset: Tree Talk's Immaculate Chelangat who is leading the reforestation.
Tree Talk, April 2012
ood news! Tree Talk is working with communities in six villages along River Atar in Kapchorwa. Supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Tree Talk has set up two nurseries, which are expected to produce over 300,000 seedlings. In November 2011, Tree Talk gave out the first 25,000 seedlings to 56 people. All seedlings have been planted. River Atar separates Kapchorwa and Kween districts. Its banks are heavily degraded and the river had decreased in volume while the water was muddy and contaminated with human
Trees belong to women and girls too
In 2011, Tree Talk asked you - WHO OWNS TREES in your culture? Most of you said men are the owners. "In my culture men are the ones who own trees," wrote a reader from Manafwa High School. "Since men are the heads of the family, they are the owners of everything at home. Men will sell trees to earn income and use them to construct a house." Girls of Kwoti PS in Kapchorwa pause with seedlings during International Year of Forests. A total of 150 seedlings were planted in the school compound. Jesca Kabugho a P6 pupil at Kiburara PS agreed: "The men own the trees in our culture." Tree Talk believes it is best when both men and women own trees. "The belief that men own trees stems from the fact that in Uganda men usually own the land," explains Xavier Mugumya of the National Forestry Authority, The Forestry Policy 2002 says, the person who plants a tree owns it. If a woman plants a tree, it is her tree. So women too, can plant and own trees. "Girls should be given an opportunity to inherit land as well as trees planted by their parents," says Eric Waiswa, a forester in Iganga." All children should be treated equally". Abari Emanuel, a teacher at Patira Primary School in Nwoya says, "I planted trees to pay fees for my daughters. I call them 'my daughters' trees."
tella Sara, 11, in P5 at Masindi Town Model PS wrote: “We have planted trees to prevent drought. We planted passion fruits and flowers to attract useful insects." J Elasu, Rock View HS wrote: “Thank you for your paper which carries a lot of information. The struggle continues to protect the environment." Paul Fred Watowa wrote:“I am a nature lover and have great interest to see it pre-
Write to PO Box 22366, Kampala.
Tree Talk achievements in 2011
• Between July - December 2011, Tree Talk raised 1.3 million seedlings. More than 60% are expected to survive at one year. •It enrolled over 25 Charcoal Groups (a total of 300 members) to plant indigenous trees, including swamp palms in Acholi subregion. • Tree Talk taught members of 25 communities to build energy-saving stoves. Over 100 stoves were constructed in the training sessions. • Trained 25 Local Environment Committees in 5 districts on climate change adaptation actions. As a result, many people are enrolling for tree planting. partnered with Kaliro Environment Conservation Project (ECP) to grow 6000 seedlings, distributed them to ten schools. Contact Rogers Mugoda on 0774-059844 or 0772-326855 for details. • In Soroti, Tree Talk is supporting Partners for Vulnerable Children (PVC) with tree seeds. PVC aims to raise 10,000 seedlings for the community and environment clubs in six primary schools. •In Kapchorwa, Tree Talk and Mvule Trust have identified 10 young girls and boys to study forestry at Nyabyeya Forestry College. •In Nakasongola, Tree Talk worked with eight schools to plant 6000 trees to commemorate the International Year of Forests.
served. I come from Mbale." Eric Mbusa, teacher in charge of Straight Talk activities at Kiburara PS, Kasese, wrote: “I appeal to all schools to consult development agencies for help in conserving the environment. My school was given pine seedlings by Belgium Technical Cooperation. We have planted all and hope they will grow well." The Palabek SS Tree Talk club wrote to say that it was formed in 2008 and now has 131 members. Tree Talk salutes Galilee Orphanage and Needy Care Programme, which asked for Musizi and Mvule seeds. Tree Talk is happy to hear from the Allied Forestry Consultants in Hoima (078-2-572408) who need seed for Mvule, Musizi, Antiaris (Kirundo), Mahogany and Markhamia so they can supply seedlings to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Can anyone help them?
A boy fills pots at the IUCN funded Tree Talk nursery in Kapchorwa. If you want to grow trees, a good place to learn about them is a tree nursery. See if you can get a casual job in a nursery.
Elsewhere in Uganda
• Tree Talk
Tree Talk is a Programme of Straight Talk Foundation, Plot 4, Acacia Avenue, Kololo PO Box 22366, Kampala. Tel. 0312-262030 or 0312-266148.
This issue was funded by DANIDA.
Tree Talk gratefully acknowledges ideas, content and illustrations used in this paper that come from Dino J Martin's "Our friends, the pollinators" leaflet; the book Laikipia - a natural history guide, particularly the drawings by Lavinia Grant; and the teachers book, Learning for sustainable living in Kenya.
Tree Talk will not send out seeds with this paper. Instead, we ask schools, CBOs, churches and individuals to write in for seeds. You can request more than one type. We will do our best to supply you. Write to Tree Talk PO Box 22366 Kampala or E-mail to info@ treetalk.or.ug
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