Uganda is losing its forests at an astonishing rate. In a country where 92% of the people depend on firewood and charcoal, indigenous trees have disappeared, replaced by fast growing Pine and Eucalyptus as the forests are cleared for agriculture and energy use. The rapid rate of deforestation is threatening Uganda’s national income, reducing biodiversity and ecotourism, and leading to a crisis as supplies of natural resources fail to keep pace with Uganda’s population growth.
The importance of the indigenous trees extend beyond simply burning for energy though. To the tribes of the Bakiga, Bafumbira and Batwa who live around the forests of Bwindi and in the towns and villages around Chameleon Hill, the trees represent a deeper connection with their heritage, culture, health and identity.
Fortunately there are programmes in place within the community to bring back indigenous trees and preserve the areas where they grow, such as the beautiful bay that Chameleon Hill looks out over. As a commitment to developing this, Doris, Patrick and the team at Chameleon Hill have now planted over 1.000 seedlings. They come from the nearby impenetrable forest of Bwindi National Park, where they will be protected and nurtured to fully grown trees on the property of Chameleon Hill.
Here is our green fingered Across Africa (our sister tour operating company) manager Jan together with Seville from our maintenance department, planting the first tree as part of our commitment to sustainable development and community engagement that runs alongside the tourism that we are passionate about bringing to the area.