June 19, 2009
Uganda’s Forests Being Depleted
A government report said on Friday that Uganda lost close to a third of its forest cover since 1990 because of expanding farmlands, a rapidly growing human population and increased urbanization.
The report, which was published by Uganda's National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), said that in 1990, the east African nation had over 12 million acres of forest cover, but by 2005 only 8.6 million acres remained.
The report said that if this deforestation rate continues then Uganda will lose all of its forests by 2050.
Only about 10 percent of the population of Uganda has access to electricity, while the rest get by with only firewood for cooking.
"Because 89 percent of rural Ugandans rely on burning firewood for cooking, deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate," NEMA said.
Uganda is an eastern African country with around 31 million people, and it has the world's highest population growth rates.
Recent government estimates show that there are seven live births to every adult female.
According to the report, there were three districts surrounding Kampala, Uganda's capital, that lost over 78 percent of their forestland since 1990, while people migrate out of the increasingly crowded city into neighboring regions.
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