The office furniture manufacturer, Hammerbacher, is supporting the restoration and reforestation of 250 hectares in Uganda as part of a long-term project with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). These selected forests are no longer able to provide their ecosystem services.
The size of the area is chosen in such a way that around 1,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed on a long-term average, to correspond to the company’s CO2 emissions. In addition to forest certification, the project will ensure the restoration of ecosystems.
This includes the promotion of biodiversity as well as the protection of climate, water, and soil-services that a healthy forest offers living organisms. As well as being an important water and carbon reservoir, forests also serve as a home for animals and plants.
The project will be implemented by FSC Germany in close collaboration with FSC Eastern Africa and the Uganda Timber Growers Association (UTGA)-the first FSC Group scheme certification in Uganda. UTGA is a member-based organisation that brings together commercial tree growers in Uganda for collective action, with 670 members who have set up over 80,000 hectares of commercial forest plantations across the country.
“UTGA is engaging in forest restoration to highlight the importance that natural forests have on our lives. It is important that those areas that have been degraded are restored and UTGA is doing this in West Bugwe Central Forest Reserve in Busia district, Eastern Uganda,” stresses Denis David Kavuma, General Manager of UTGA.
Currently, Uganda loses 200 000 hectares a year through deforestation, with illegal logging being one of the major causes. A comprehensive protection framework to curb illegal logging has been implemented, and Uganda’s forest cover has been increasing steadily thanks to this. “Uganda prioritised restoring its forest cover to 24% by 2040 and adding value to the ecosystems as provided in the Uganda Vision 2040. Furthermore, Uganda pledged to restore forests on 2.5 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 under the Bonn Challenge. “This project immensely contributes to the country’s forest restoration efforts,” says Annah Agasha, Coordinator, FSC Eastern Africa. The furniture giant isn’t a new player in Uganda. “We have been involved in aid projects in Uganda for years.” Among other things, we support a school project that aims to give former child soldiers a perspective on life, “says Bernhard Hammerbacher, Managing Director of the office furniture manufacturer. Since August 2011, the company has been sourcing wood from operators that “meet the high FSC standard to produce our office furniture.”
“With the new project, we can combine these two convictions and concerns.” It is particularly important to us that the local communities are also involved in the restoration of forest areas. Thus, in addition to the ecological component, the social part also plays a supporting role”.
About this project
The carbon stores are to be created in Uganda and will be realised in the forests of the FSC-certified forestry association UTGA.
Over the next 5 years, 50 ha each, for a total of 250 ha of natural forest will be restored. The project will also include the expert care and management of the resulting forest. It is also ensured that the newly created CO2 sink is not accounted for more than once, for example through the sale of CO2 certificates.
The additional certification of ecosystem services according to the strict ecological and social criteria of FSC, further evaluates the forest’s performance. The project is planned for a long-term perspective of 20 years in order to ensure the long-term storage of carbon.