WHY FOREST PLANTATIONS?
As a country develops and its population expands, the per capita consumption of wood and woodbased products rises steadily. The natural forests and woodlands that once seemed never-ending are suddenly almost finished. In the past, the response was often for the Government to then plant the trees to provide the timber, the poles and the fuelwood – though this has not proved very successful in a number of countries due to poor planning and management. The next cry often heard is “We must force people to plant trees!” and this approach invariably fails too, even though lots of seedlings may be produced in the process. In Uganda, we may have found the solution: create the right investment environment and then provide support to private sector entrepreneurs willing to develop commercial tree plantations.
Commercial forestry is a frequently misunderstood industry with regard to its potential for rural development. It will only realise this potential, however, if the development is carefully planned and the forests well managed. Commercial forestry is not just about planting trees but about developing a sustainable (and profitable) industry based on timber and other wood products.