In collaboration with Face the Future and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, KFF is leading a community-based removal program of the invasive shrub, Lantana camara. The shrub is native to the American tropics and was probably introduced as an ornamental. Sadly, the plant is so successful that is has spread far and wide across Africa and even to the depths of Kibale Forest National Park. The plant grows rapidly and outcompetes both local plants and shrubs but also young trees, hindering reforestation efforts. Luckily, the leaves of Lantana contain a high amount of essential oils which makes it ideal as an ingredient in eco-charcoal (link to eco-charcoal page). Together under the watchful eye of UWA rangers who keep an eye out for moody buffalo and cantankerous elephants, the plant is carefully removed from areas where reforestation efforts are being hampered. It is then taken carefully outside of the park making sure no material is dropped along the way, to the eco-charcoal producing station where it creates revenue and a source of energy for local farmers.
The second species we are helping to control is Senna spectablis (Cassia), a stunning yellow flowering tree that unfortunately has spread through many of Uganda’s forests, outcompeting indigenous trees for both light and nutrients. Matiri Central Forest Reserve is one of those forests that has been heavily affected by this species but also from illegal deforestation. We therefore came up with the idea to train the communities to identify and cut only this species when they are harvesting firewood. The tree readily coppices, and this allows for rotational harvesting. It will also allow the indigenous species to regain areas they had previously been forced out of by the cassia. This partnership is together with the National Forestry Authority and works with local women’s groups on the Kyenjojo border of the forest reserve. In addition to training the farmers on the harvesting of this tree, we also supply indigenous trees to the farmers and facilitate farmers to help in the reforestation of the reserve.