Saturday, June 20, 2009

Deforestation in Africa - Uganda

All recent studies show that deforestation is worst in Africa. Deforestation is among the biggest ecological problems in Africa, and one of the areas worst hit with deforestation is the east African country Uganda. Latest study showed that in less than 20 years time (since 1990) Uganda lost one third of its forest cover. In the beginning of 90s Uganda had more than five million hectares of forest cover but in less than 15 years time (by 2005) Uganda lost more than 1,5 million hectares of forests.

The main reason for such huge deforestation is the same like in many other African countries, namely the rapid grow of human population. As the population grows humans need more room for their farms and following infrastructure, and forests are cleared to make the necessary space. If by any chance Uganda's government fails to stop this excessive deforestation Uganda will be forest-free by 2050.

Many of you probably know that Uganda is one of the poorest African countries with mostly rural population. This African country is so poor that only 10 percent of its population has access to electricity while remaining population depends upon firewood for cooking needs. Increased Ugandan population is heavily clearing remaining forests because they practically need wood to survive. There are more than 31 million people living in Uganda so this mean that more than 25 million people need firewood for cooking, and if you add to this the fact that Uganda has one of the world's highest population growth rates you can clearly see how serious this deforestation problem really is.

The worst deforestation in Uganda is happening around the capital city Kampala. People want to be as close as possible to Kampala which has resulted in the expansion of built-up areas in near Kampala. This expansion in urbanization has caused area around Kampala to lose more than three quarters of its forests in the last 20 years, and if this continues area around Kampala will soon be forest-free.

Deforestation in Africa is not only ecological problem but also very important political question that rich countries will need to answer very soon. Africa is not capable to protect its forests without the aid from rich countries, and rich countries should really ensure much more funds for Africa. Unless this happens poor African people will be forced to continue with further destruction of their forests because this is the only way for them to survive.

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