EnvironmentGlobal Politics


Langoya Andrew Ono, 29-year-old, is an environmental lawyer and a practicing forester in
Northern Uganda at Koro, Labora, Omoro District. Livingstone Okumu Langol sounded
him in an interview March 15, 2024, about the benefits of tree planting and he elucidated all,
from planning to plant trees.


the agronomy involved, the commercial value to the environmental dividends. Langoya boasts of 12 years of tree plantation management. Below
are the excerpts.
A total of 27 hectares of clonal eucalyptus trees have been planted. The first planting was
done in 2015 while I was still in the university. Each hectare takes about 1,200 tree seedlings.
This is with the spacing of 3 meters by 3 meters between seedlings. This plantation is a joint
venture between me and my brother, Moses Laboke Langoya.


A grant would be the best financial benefit that the government may provide. The ideal grant
would be one geared towards adding value onto what has already been established. For
example, this may be through funding or, providing the appropriate green technology such as
charcoal kilns, mobile saw mills, machines used to harvest and transport trees bought by
clients, or even equipment used to treat utility poles.

Mobile Saw mills; The practice in Northern Uganda has been business as usual. This
mentality has greatly put the environment at risk. Many individuals who take part in
lumbering use chain saws to convert logs into timber. The danger with this is that the
recovery percentage is as low as 25%. Whereas improved machines such as a wood mizer has
a recovery of up to 60%. This shows that the use of a chain saw requires more trees to be cut
to meet a target whereas, the use of improved technology will see less trees cut to meet the
same target. Very few individuals in the north(ern Uganda) have access to this kind of
technology. Eucalyptus is hard wood and there is demand for its timber.

Charcoal Kilns; One big advantage with eucalyptus is its ability to regenerate. That means
that there will be continuous supply of material that may be used to burn charcoal. This will
be from the branches or upper part of the log that the end user does not need and sees as
waste. This will be a good way to minimize waste while maximizing on profits. The off cuts
and pieces of log left from lumbering is what can be utilized to make charcoal.

Machines to harvest trees; In the past, we have been using pangas and axes to cut down the
trees. The community have been available to manually load them onto the trucks for
transportation. However, as the trees grow older, they increase in size. We have had to hire a
chain saw to cut down trees with bigger volumes. Loading them has also become a challenge.
We have had to go as far as hiring a tractor to load. This has increased on the cost of
operation. So, there is a need to acquire machinery to make harvesting more efficient. These
include chain saws and any appropriate loading equipment.

Utility poles treatment plant; Some end users have expressed the need for treated utility
poles. This has been a challenge since we do not have the financial muscle to venture into
this. However, there is a need to establish a treatment plant. This will include providing the
machinery and taking time to visit other plants and go through trainings.

The cross-cutting benefits of grants is that, they will play a big part in eradicating poverty,
building capacity, mitigating climate change and promoting environmental conservation. This
is because the community around will have more job opportunities from acquiring these
machines or equipment, their capacity will be built so they are able to operate the same and,
this approach is both economically viable and environmentally friendly.


Andrew Langya Ono, yang graduate who few years become multi business foresters

Every successful project has to begin with a plan. A plan is a way one maps out an idea of
how they seek to achieve their set objectives. This entail drafted plan, land survey, land
clearance, lining out, herbicide spray and use, pitting, procuring seedlings, to actual planting,
beating up and weeding.

Survey land; It is important to survey the land for a number of reasons. Boundaries need to
be established within the plantation. This is where the plantation is demarcated into subcompartments to ease movement within the plantation. The proposed planting area will then
be well mapped out and documented. This exercise will also include understanding the soil
type to ensure that the tree species planted are compatible with the soil type of that area. Any
existing or future conflicts should be detected during this phase. This includes cultural,
political or environmental conflicts.

Land clearing; Any trees found on the land will be felled and disposed of in the manner
deemed fit. All tree stumps should be uprooted. The grass should also be cleared so that the
garden is free of any weeds. It is important that weeds and pests are controlled.
Lining out; A baseline should be established. On this basis, a design spacing of 3X3 will be
established. This will be followed by marking the planting spots. We use a hoe and a
measuring rope.

Herbicide spray; Recommended herbicide should be used as in this case; we use weed
master. It is important that the right mixture is done for good results. The timing of the actual
spraying is important so that, the area is clear of weeds prior to the planting day.
Pitting; This should be done before the onset of the rainy season. This will ensure that the
soil does not harden. The recommended size is 1 ft deep.

Procuring seedlings; It is important to secure seedlings from certified sources. The Food and
Agricultural Organization embarks on a yearly exercise of certifying tree seedling nurseries.
This is to ensure that a high standard is kept and that clients receive good seedlings according
to the international standards. The seedling source should not be more than 100km away from
the planting site. It is important that the seedlings are handled well during loading, off
loading and transportation.
Actual planting; The seedling should be planted when it has been determined that the
moisture content in the soil is sufficient. The potting bags should not be left in the plantation
as they do not degrade. It is important that they are disposed of in a way that is

Beating up; Between 4-8 weeks of planting, the survival percentage of the seedlings should
be ascertained. The recommended survival percentage is 85%. All dead spots should be
replaced accordingly. The best seedlings should be selected so that they may quickly catch up
with the rest.

Weeding; Immediately after planting, spot weeding can be done. A circumference of 30 cm
will be weeded around the seedling. This area should be kept free of any weed. Slashing may
be done twice a year however; it may be more frequent than that. It is always more effective
to weed using herbicide as early stated. It is important to ensure that the herbicide does not
affect the trees since in most cases, these herbicides are non-selective.


The rotation period of Eucalyptus is 10-12 years. The first harvest will be during first
thinning. This happens between 2-3 years. By this time each tree will cost UGX 5,000 (USD
1.4) only. 300 poles will be removed per hectare in this phase.
The second thinning will happen between 5-6 years. In this period, each tree will cost
UGX12,000 (USD 3.2). About 400 poles will be removed per hectare. The final harvest
would be done between 10-12 years. By this time, the log size will be UGX 60,000 (USD
16.2). Each hectare would now have 500 trees left.

ST 27 300 8,100 5,000/= 40,500,000/= 1,946
ND 27 400 10,800 12,000/ =
129,600,000/= 3,5027
FINAL 27 500 13,500 60,000/ =
810,000,000/= 218,919


There are a number of activities that have been undertaken to ensure that the quality of the
plantation is maintained. These include pruning, thinning, road construction and maintenance,
fire protection, risk management, weeding and monitoring.

Pruning; In the first 2 years, the lower branches will be taken out to ensure that no animals
hide under the tree. The first pruning is then done between 2-3 years. Here branches are
removed up to 2 meters. Second pruning is done at the age of 5 years. Since eucalyptus is
hardwood, half of the tree will have to be pruned from the bottom. This exercise is done
using a pruning knife for accurate results. It is important to ensure that no knots are left. This
will help with the quick healing of the scar. Otherwise, that part of the timber is prone to
being a weak point resulting to a timber defect.

Thinning; As earlier stated, 1st thinning happens between 2-3 years. A total of 300 trees are
removed per hectare. 2nd thinning happens between 5-6 years. This is where 400 trees are
removed. The balance would then be 500 trees per hectare. Thinning is important since it
gives the remaining trees space to expand in diameter. This helps to improve on the log
quality among other things.

Road construction and maintenance; This will be based on a 5-hectare sub compartment.
The road network will be designed throughout the whole plantation. This will make it easy to
monitor the plantation, harvest and transport forest products and even complement the fire
lines that have been put in place. They will be prepared and maintained by hoeing until the
canopy closes. The cost of maintenance will become less with frequent use of these road
networks as well.

Fire protection; The biggest risk in the forestry-based enterprise is fire. One of the best
protective measures against fire is to establish a good relationship with the community. The
plantation has experienced 3 bad fires since its establishment. It is the community that made a
phone call for the need to put it out. They went as far as joining hands to fight it and reduce
its spread as the rescue team made its way to the plantation. It is important to have a fire crew
with the necessary tools on standby, especially during the fire seasons. This crew will also be
in charge of fire patrols.

Capacity building of the fire crew is important. This will ensure that they are ready to
confront any situation presented before them. And this will include creating fire lines within
and without the plantation. It is also important to ensure that the fuel load within and without
the plantation is as low as possible. This requires a lot of intentionality and dedication.
Weeding; This exercise is to ensure that the weeds in the plantation are dealt away with.
They have a capacity to hide or attract animals that may damage the trees. In case of a fire,
the grass may act as fuel wood. It is important to always clear this. We initially began with
slashing however, we found it more effective to weed using chemical. We use weed master.
1-liter costs UGX 25,000 (USD 6.8). We need 50 liters to cover the entire plantation. With
this, we end up weeding up to three times a year as opposed to slashing which would even
happen 5 times a year.
Monitoring; It is important to always visit the plantation to ensure that everything is going
on according to the plan. A visit should be made as frequently as possible within a week. A
minimum of 4 days a week should be dedicated to checking that all is well. It is not what you
expect, it is what you inspect.


Courtesy of inspiration from Mr. Langoya C.D., I have learnt the valuable principle of
running forestry as a business. His philosophy encompasses the environmental, social and
economic aspects of community. It is important to protect and conserve the environment.
However, one cannot neglect the tree farmers’ basic needs. These include food, clothing,
medical bill and education among others. It is then important to factor in the financial aspect
of earning money in the pocket even as one plays their role as a steward of the environment.
Good business is well planned, with a road map set, financial projections calculated.
However, the most important part of sustainability is self-regulation. This is the ability to
manage how you conduct yourself. One can easily get excited and fell a plantation but with
self-regulation, the harvesting of trees should be staggered. Bear in mind that eucalyptus
regenerates. This means that if well managed, one has a continuous income generating
source. The poles that are between 2-3 years cost UGX 5,000 (USD 1.4). This means that it is
possible to utilize this opportunity to generate income without compromising the

Green transition is a concept that deals with adopting technologies and practices that are more
friendly to the environment. For example, tree growing is advocated for since it plays a role
in both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Trees sequester carbon (they are carbon
sinks). They absorb carbon released in the atmosphere. In so doing, it mitigates the damage
caused to the ozone layer hence reducing on global warming and its effects. On the other
hand, trees help us adapt to climate change for example, they cool the temperature of the
surrounding in which they are planted. This has a positive effect on the rain patterns, they
hold soil together and thus reducing on the adverse effects of soil erosion.


Carbon credit schemes is a concept where companies reduce on carbon emissions by
engaging in carbon trade. It is a good concept however; its applicability may be a challenge
in the African concept. This is a concept that requires high technology for it to be executed. A
country like Uganda is still growing in line with technology.
My approach on benefitting from the carbon-credit schemes would be more straightforward.
This can be summarized in terms of grants. There are many tree growers in Uganda lately.
And there is a need for capacity building, providing of improved technology to ease the tree
growing process, expose visits to different countries and mentorship. This would be a more
viable approach to carbon trade where, the farmers need is identified, assessed and addressed.

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