|Rebecca Goldstone and Michael Stern|
|Chimp-n-Sea Wildlife Conservation, McGill University, Makerere Bioogical Field Station and Woodland Park Zoo|
|Kibale Community Fuel Wood Project|
|Location: Villages surrounding Kibale National Park, Uganda|
|Species: Humans (Homo sapiens)|
|Abstract: Presently, most villagers surrounding Kibale National Park (KNP) lack the means to grow their own fuel wood. Current sources of legal fuel wood are diminishing rapidly as the human population increases, putting intense pressure on the National Park. The proposed project will establish demonstration tree nurseries and actively promote the creation of private woodlots. Through an educational outreach program, 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, the project will better protect the natural forest and improve park-people relationships. The project will be a cooperative effort between CnS, McGill University and local governmental and non-governmental groups, with community involvement throughout its planning and implementation.|
Project Update: October 2006
Kibale National Park is being cut down for firewood. Every Saturday, streams of people enter the park with machetes and leave with logs and trees. Local villagers see little alternative to cutting down the trees. In an effort to showcase the ease of growing firewood at home, the project is promoting native, quick-growing, nitrogen-fixing species (Sesbania sesban) that can be planted around a small farm.
To date, more than 1,000 seedlings have been reared, 500 of which are planted in 5 demonstration sights. Marcamia, also suitable for timber, has also been planted in smaller numbers. Seeds were collected locally and germinated in recycled plastic bags. Volunteers assisted with planting in a fence-like pattern, utilizing the border space around farms in an innovative way.
Upon arriving, project staff found out that Sesbania has been promoted to the locals in the past. Its nitrogen-fixing attributes are appreciated, though its potential as a fuel source has yet to be maximized.
Interest has grown since opening the demonstrations. Though still in its early stages, test cuts on full-grown trees have proven successful and seedlings are growing well. Project staff and volunteers look forward to the rainy season (April 2007) when the newly planted trees will be ready for their first harvest.
For more information on this project please visit http://www.chimp-n-sea.org/
Project Update: May 2007
Harvest time! Planted as seeds in July 2006, our first trees have now come of age.
Utilizing empty space around the borders of a small farm, the planting method promoted by the project has been quite successful. At the Kaburala Center, our main demonstration area, over 125 trees were planted around the farm, without taking any space away from the crops. In fact, the nitrogen-fixing capability of these indigenous trees has helped to fertilize the crops they border. This method is attractive to the majority of local citizens, who do not have the space needed for a traditional wood lot.
By early April, the average tree height at Kaburala was 10.2 feet, with some trees over 16 feet tall! At the beginning of the rainy season, 45 of the trees were harvested. Other trees were left standing to provide seeds for the future, and to help determine the most effective harvest method for this area. (Trees at the five other demonstration areas were left standing for these same reasons.)
Though tests are continuing to help maximize production even further, this first round has been very promising. Home-grown wood can save Kibale!