The National Forestry and Tree Planting Act No. 8, 2003, prohibits dealings on land reserved as CFRs without the authorisation of the NFA. Thus, in case of prohibited activities e.g. illegal pit sawing and charcoal burning, the timber and charcoal are impounded and other lawful measures taken. They include fining owners of vehicles/vessels impounded with illegal forest produce and fining owners of illegal forest produce, while others are prosecuted in courts of law. Illegal settlers on forest land are evicted and/or taken to court.
Unless specified by the Minister, any other tree not on the CFR is taken care of by the District Forest Officer (DFO) or any person authorized by the Minister in the case of NFA it is the Law enforcement Unit. On request, NFA offers advisory services on sustainable forestry practices to private tree-planters who may not necessarily seek permission prior to cutting their trees.
In 2004, the NFA’s line Minister i.e. of Water, Lands and Environment issued a statutory instrument declaring the chain saw use contra band and it was widely published in the press. To-date, this is the legal instrument upon which the NFA’s interventions are based. The details of the instrument are available in the NFA library, which is accessible to the public.
If you find any one doing it and claims to be doing it on behalf of NFA let him/her give you proof of official authorization from NFA. Otherwise NFA cannot use such a tool for timber conversion. NFA operates by example!
Yes. It is only the Minister, now for Water and Environment who has exclusive discretion to allow any one to use a chain saw after convincing reasons have been given by the person seeking clearance.
The Tree Planting License empowers you not to accept such activities. Section 32 of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act authorizes that every activity done in a CFR must be with a license granted and in accordance with the Forest Management Plan of that particular Forest. Even for a tree farmer to graze, grow crops, keep bees, mine sand/clay, make bricks or engage in any other activity not prescribed in the license is illegal. These offenders should therefore be handled in the same way as other criminals.
You can, therefore, prosecute such offenders. However, where the situation is volatile, you should be assisted by the NFA’s field staff in conjunction with law enforcement unit. It is NFA’s work to remove encroachers from where land is allocated but a tree farmer must guard against new encroachers, tress passers and other illegalities in his/her plot. Allowing such activities in your plot can lead to cancellation of the license. People allocated land should note that growing crops with trees is not allowed on land allocated in CFRs.
Fencing off forest land as a pre-emptive measure against tress-pass is allowed in exceptional circumstances with strong reasons and requires clearance from the Executive Director of NFA.
Ideal conservation practices call for proper planning and land use, a whole area of study, considering that there is no way one can competitively utilize forest land for purposes other than conservation and non-destructive ventures like tourism and bee-keeping. Forest land is also never fertile for crops, the reason being that most of the nutrients are consumed and held up in the trees. When environmental concerns are considered, crops cannot be an effective substitute for trees because trees have global effects accruing from their long term stay and the related services derived from them.
CFRs are held in trust for the people of Uganda by the Government through NFA. CFRs are public goods for the common good of Ugandans. So the “people” should easily access them. “Section 5 (2) National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2003” empowers any person or responsible body to bring an action against a person:
a) Whose action / omissions have had or are likely to have a significant impact on a forest.
b) For the protection of a forest.
In other words, protection of CFRs is the responsibility of all Ugandans hence no need for fencing as is the case with lakes and rivers.
Furthermore, besides the prohibitive costs that would be involved, fencing alone may not completely shield CFRs as encroachers can still find ways of entering them. There is need to use other means which can be more efficient in reducing the rate of encroachment and other related illegal activities in the forest reserves.
He/She could buy the timber by participating in the timber auction when it is held.
The law requires that the auction is done by registered auctioneers. These would be very expensive to move to most of the upcountry districts. Also, the upcountry markets may not be in position to purchase the timber at the same market as the timber market in Kampala at the Headquarters.