Problems facing the forestry industry in East Africa

The following are Problems facing the forestry industry in East Africa

  • Deforestation due to the increased need for land for agriculture and settlement.
  • Wild animals graze freely in the forests leading to their destruction e.g. elephants.
  • Wild fires caused by either lightening or careless farmers leading to loss of extensive forested lands.



  • Scarcity of rainfall and prolonged drought due to increased desertification leading to short and stunted trees.
  • Population increase hence the need to create more land for settlement leading to clearance of forested land.
  • Limited alternative power sources have led to high demand for wood fuel and charcoal hence destruction of forests.
  • Increased urbanization has led to destruction of forests e.g. road construction and industrialisation.
  • Mining and quarrying activities have also led to the destruction of forests due to the need to expose mineral bearing rocks.



  • Occurrence of tree pests and disease that attack specific tree species leading to their depletion.
  • Long gestation of some tree species has also led to shortage of wood fuel.
  • Inadequate labour force to carry out forestry management.
  • Inadequate capital for investment in forestry management.
  • The bulky nature of some tree logs makes it difficult to transport them to saw mills.
  • Inaccessibility of some forests has made it difficult to exploit some of them.



  • Corruption and embezzlement of forest funds by some forestry officials.
  • Limited valuable commercial tree species which leads to importation that is very expensive.
  • Insecurity and wars due to rebel activity has led to destruction of forests that are used as hide-outs for rebels.
  • Unfavorable government policies e.g. giving forested land to private investors to set up plantations hence clearance of forests.
  • Low levels of technology for exploiting forests e.g. use of axes and pangas.



  • Hostility of local communities towards forest staff hence creating insecurity for the forest guards.

Solutions to the above problems

  • Offering licenses to lumbering companies and individuals to reduce deforestation.
  • Evicting encroachers on forested land e.g. the Bakiga and Balaalo migrants in Kibaale forest reserve were evicted by government.
  • Formation of a ministry to supervise forests and other aspects of the environment i.e. Ministry of Lands, water & Environment.



  • Setting up Non Governmental Organisations to control environmental mismanagement e.g. National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
  • Training and equipping forest managers with modern skills on how to look after forests.
  • Establishment of forest reserves where lumbering is prohibited e.g. Kibaale forestry reserve.
  • Encouraging re-afforestation and afforestation programs e.g. cut one tree and plant two trees.
  • Educating the masses about the dangers of deforestation.
  • Practicing agro-forestry to ensure extensive tree growth by the farmers too.
  • Encouraging the use of alternative sources of power e.g. solar energy to reduce forest destruction for wood fuel.



  • Encouraging use of alternative building and construction materials e.g. plastics, metal and glass and reduce the demand for timber.
  • Campaigning against degazetting forested land by government.
  • Growing of quick and fast maturing species to ensure constant supply of forest products. 

Effects of deforestation on the environment

  • Reduction and lowering of water table due to reduced rainfall totals.
  • Global warming and increased world temperatures due to reduced cloud cover.



  • Mass wasting and soil erosion along the slopes due to absence of trees to trap the soil.
  • Reduction of wildlife due to destruction of their natural which reduces foreign exchange.
  • Loss of soil fertility due to severe erosion leading to low agricultural output.
  • Desertification may arise leading to expansion of deserts.
  • Flooding may occur due to mass wasting and soil erosion due to deposition of soil materials in the valley.
  • Silting of river valleys due to increased erosion along slopes.



  • Shortage of food leading to famine due to less agricultural output.

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