Last week, the Member of Parliament Bufumbira East Eddie Kwizera presented Private members bill in the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda intended to degazette the fourteen (14) peri urban forests some of which are Uganda Safari tour sites.
The bill which was embraced by Ephraim Kamuntu the Minister of Water and Environment despite the nation’s obligation to protect the environment and stop climate change on global scale is viewed as mischievous one intended to disorganize the Peri Urban landscapes that would rather have been conserved.
The 17,300 hectares of forest cover are set to be degazetted if the bill presented becomes successful. This move will definitely pose an impact on the local weather of these urban areas and the national climate which has been part of the attractions that inspire people to undertake safaris in Uganda.
The presented bill proposes the identification of alternative lands on which these forests will be planted and proposes the utilization of the lands where the forests are currently situated for housing and other projects like shopping centers.
The conservation advocates have come up to demean the move highlighting the loopholes that lie within it. The example of degazzetting a section of Kitubulu forest in Entebbe Municipality and then plant a new forest in the Arua District County of Vura leaves a gap on how the Entebbe Area will be protected from the weather changes arising from the lost forest cover. The Peri Urban forests stand as significant resources to the areas in which they exist including water, humidity, drainage, heat and livelihood as some of them have inspired resort developments that are of interest to Uganda tour undertakers.
Unfortunately, this comes at a time when the forest cover in Uganda is at stake. It can be noted that 50% of the forest cover was lost between 1971 to 1987 while from 1990 to 2010, an average of 88,150 ha about 1.86% per annum. This puts the total forest cover lost to 37.1% meaning that the country is left with only 13% of the forest cover that existed by 1970.
The destruction of Peri-Urban forests presents the risk of having concrete towns sacrificing the beauty, freshness and recreation and tourism. This would have an effect on the city tours in Uganda as well. An alternative would be considering the vertical housing construction, taking factories outside Urban areas and then planting trees along the city streets.