MOYO. In a bid to protect and conserve the environment, Moyo district local government has developed a ten-year district forest plan (DFP) with support from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

The purpose of the plan is to address climate change adaptation and mitigation, increase commercial tree planting at the household and institutional level, and also strengthen the capacity of institutions in the forest sector.

Speaking during the review and validation of the draft document, Mr Sam Asusi, the Moyo district vice chairperson said the plan will give clear investment directions in the next ten years especially during the budgeting process since it has areas of concern for development.

Asusi added that being the first of its kind in the history of the district, a number of stakeholders were involved in the drafting process of the document for easy sustainability of the various planned activities.

He noted that the forest cover in Uganda has reduced to 1 million hectares last year up from 5 million in the 1990s due to over-dependence on forest products as a source of energy at homesteads and institutional levels.

The district vice chairman assured the members of the communities that the district council shall consider approving and passing the document for effective and efficient implementation so as to protect and restore the forest cover in the district.

Mr Bob Kazungu, an officer from the ministry of water and environment said DFP is an obligation for local governments to develop across the country.

He explained that the DFP is enshrined in the national forestry and tree planting act of 2003 and the national forestry and tree planting regulation of 2016 which gives a mandate for district local governments to protect the environment and promote tree planting.

Mr Patrick Droma, the Moyo district forest officer said the goal of the plan is to look at sustainable forest cover that is aimed at improving biodiversity-ecosystem resilient socio-economic empowerment and development in Moyo by 2030.

According to Droma, Moyo district is covered with woodlot but he expressed concern over its management in the district.