Ban on charcoal in Uganda is a hopeful development for Zoka Forest

Last May, our Ugandan partner organisation Friends of Zoka took an important step towards protecting Zoka Central Forest from logging. President Museveni issued an order that bans logging for commercial charcoal production in the region where Zoka forest is located. If properly executed, this order will take pressure from the forest which is under threat from charcoal production and other logging activities.

Header photo: Logging for charcoal in Zoka Central Forest, Uganda © Friends of Zoka

William Amanzuru, director of Friends of Zoka welcomes the order from the president: ‘The ban has been ordered for Northern and North East Uganda, where charcoal business is a massive force of forest destruction. We hope the order will be implemented by the authorities, as this has been an issue in the past with other bans.’

At the same time, it also crucial that reliable and affordable alternatives to charcoal as a source of energy are explored and provided, as well as alternative ways for charcoal workers to make a living.

Deforestation in Uganda

The deforestation rate in Uganda is very high. Forests are cut down for agriculture, urbanisation and logging for charcoal and other business. If things continue this way, the country’s National Environment Management Authority expects Uganda to have lost all its forests in less than 25 years. Studies have shown that almost all of the forests outside of protected areas have been cleared. This is very concerning as these forests are the habitat of many different species and they are of great importance to the people living in the area.

Forests for a Just Future

As part of our project Forests for a Just Future, we are supporting Friends of Zoka and other nature organisations in Uganda to protect the country’s forests. Forests for a Just Future works in 11 countries in South America, Africa and Asia. We contribute to more sustainable and inclusive governance of tropical rainforests, in a way that promotes climate mitigation, human rights and preserves the livelihoods of local communities.

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Antoinette Sprenger
Senior Expert Environmental Justice