If you are reading this blog article, you probably already know that deforestation is a real problem for our environment. Or rather – for us. We humans are part of the environment. We are part of nature and use what nature provides us to eat, drink and breathe.
Did you know that a human being breathes 550 litres of oxygen per day?
While up to 70 percent of this produced oxygen comes from marine plants, a third of it is produced in the rainforests of the earth.
But trees and forests are not only an important source of oxygen. They host a large part of biological diversity, regulate the global climate and weather conditions, influence the water cycle, stabilize soils and vegetation and have many other benefits.
So what would happen if Uganda lost all its forests by 2050?
This may seem like a rhetorical question – but in reality this idea is not fictional. Between 2000 and 2012, Uganda experienced a loss of 8.5% of its tree population. If deforestation continues at the current rate, Uganda will have no forests in 30 years.
What are the drivers for deforestation in Uganda?
Around 90% of the Ugandan population uses firewood and charcoal for cooking. This is mainly due to poor rural electrification and expensive electricity. In addition, with a population growing by 3.2% per year and the need for housing, agricultural land and biomass fuels, deforestation is a solution that may at first glance seem quite favourable for the people.
However, the consequences that Uganda is suffering from the loss of forests are extreme. Above all, it has enormous effects on the local climate and makes weather conditions unstable and extreme.
While people are gradually running out of firewood for cooking, they are using other biomass sources such as crop residues or low-quality wood, which cause higher CO2 emissions. Uganda is struggling with soil erosion, which has led to injuries and deaths in the past. Climate change is increasing crop losses as it becomes more difficult to plan for the coming rainy and dry seasons.
Fridays For Future founder in Uganda Hilda Flavia Nakabuye, who has had her own experiences as a victim of climate change, told her own story about it at the C40 World Mayor’s Summit:
“After the massive effects of climate change in my home village – the heavy rains, the strong winds that washed away our crops leaving the land bare, the constant dry spells that left the streams dry, my parents had to sell away our lands and lifestock to sustain our lives. And when the money was over it was a question of survival and death. I am lucky that I am still surviving … People are dying every day.”
Uganda urgently needs to change. And with Uganda, the rest of the world must start moving in a more sustainable direction. If we do not act now, the forests will disappear forever. If you are interested in the topic of deforestation, take a look at our article about the Amazon rainforest!
Did you know that we are working on giving Uganda back its trees? If you want to help us with planting trees in Uganda you can donate here.