The four Mbale partners manage around 40 community based tree nurseries. They provide saplings of a variety of trees free of charge to farmers, schools and the wider community. They also provide information on the value of protecting existing trees and the environmental risks associated with deforestation and climate change.
The Mbale Trees programme is not a reforestation project. The aim is to grow trees to provide a wealth of uses to the people in Mbale, as well as to be part of the global fight against climate change. Some of the local uses of the trees grown include;
- Food from the fruit, nuts and seeds
- Medicine from the roots, bark, leaves and fruit
- Livestock fodder from the leaves
- Firewood for cooking
- Timber for construction projects
- Nectar as a foodsource for beekeeping
- Shade for playgrounds and community groups
- Shade from damaging sunlight and heavy rainfall in agroforestry systems; intercropping with coffee, bananas, beans, and many other food crops
- Slope stabilisation to reduce the risk of landslides
- Reduction in the amount of rainwater draining from farmland which in turn lowers flood risk and improves water quality
All trees and plants absorb carbon from the air as they grow, removing damaging greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. It is these greenhouse gases which lead to the warming of the planet. Trees grown in the tropics grow much faster and absorb carbon at much higher rates than in Wales. This makes an important contribution to the fight against climate change that benefits all of us. If farmers have a sustainable source of trees on their farms, we hope that this will reduce the need to cut down the remaining forests, which are being deforested at an alarming rate of 2%1 per year in Uganda.
Fuel efficient stoves
A large proportion of the rural population cook all of their food on open wood fires, which is a large contributing factor to the destruction of forests nationwide. The smoke from these indoor open fires can also cause significant health problems such as pneumonia in infants, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer 2,3. As part of the Mbale Trees Programme fuel efficient stoves are being offered to families which significantly reduces the quantity of firewood needed for cooking, and reduces the occurrence of smoke related health issues.