Kibale Fuel Wood Project (Uganda)

With a human population that has increased seven-fold since 1920 and that continues to grow at 3-4% each year, the future of the Kibale Forest and its surrounding African communities is far from secure. One main issue is energy. Wood and charcoal are the sole sources of energy for more than 98% of the people surrounding Kibale, far exceeding the average reliance on fuel wood in Africa of 40%. From 1990-2000, Uganda lost an average of 91,000 hectares of forest per year, most of it felled for fuel.

Situated amid the foothills of the legendary Mountains of the Moon, Kibale National Park's location at the interface of Central and East Africa has led to an immense diversity of plants and animals. The park is home to one of the densest populations of chimpanzees and other primates in Africa, as well as hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

The Kibale Forest Education Project was created by Michael Stern and Rebecca Goldstone to teach local students about the amazing biological wealth of their National Park and has continued to evolve. Ms. Margaret Kemigisa, a Ugandan teacher working with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), started seedling nurseries at local schools to teach sustainable methods of growing fuel wood, and thus the Kibale Community Fuel Wood Project was born. A collaboration between local citizens, Chimp-n-Sea Wildlife Conservation Fund, McGill University and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the project establishes demonstration tree nurseries and actively promotes home-grown wood. Through an educational outreach program including a traveling movie show, the project seeks to enhance appreciation for the National Park while teaching and encouraging the use of environmentally sustainable practices. By creating a legal wood source to satisfy human needs, teaching how to cook with low fuel and solar stoves, the project will better protect the natural forest and provide a more secure future for both wildlife and humans.

For more information, go to: http://newnaturefoundation.org/?page_id=12

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