By Judith Nzyoka
Payments for environmental services (PES) are economic instruments providing incentives to land users for continued and/or improved supply of ecosystem services such as biodiversity conservation, watershed services, carbon sequestration and landscape beauty. In Uganda, most degradation occurs on private forests (50% are degraded) than in protected areas (15% are degraded) due to inadequate incentives to promote sustainable management of the private forests compared to the protected forests mainly due to agricultural expansion, selective timber logging and charcoal burning. A study conducted on the financial profitability, from the perspective of forest land owners managing privately owned natural forests in Hoima and Kibaale districts (prior to and under a PES scheme) given the current PES payment; preliminary results show that: Private Forest Owners (PFOs) derive more benefit prior to PES than under the PES scheme due to because of unrestricted use of forest land.
The authors continue to state that, ‘maintaining private natural forests under PES scheme currently provide insufficient economic incentives to forest owners compared to the business as usual scenario’. It therefore recommends that, the present PES compensation should be revised upwards so as to attract more PFOs’ participation in the scheme. A minimum PES compensation of about Ush 250,650/ha/yr (US $104.4) is established as the amount that can motivate PFOs to at least compensate their opportunity costs. Thus, revised PES compensation levels above or equal to this amount are likely to better attract and maintain forest owners towards adoption of PES interventions for sustainable forest management in Hoima district, Uganda.
This study’s findings will have significance for considerations in future PES design and implementation in Uganda.
This work is part of ongoing research on: The costs and benefits of a PES scheme to private forest owners in Hoima and Kibaale districts of Uganda - Nasta Babirye, Sara Namirembe and Byamukama Biryahwaho
Posted in Events, News, Uganda, water on Aug 22nd, 2011 No Comments »
The Kagera River is one of the largest rivers flowing into Lake Victoria, the largest fresh water body in Africa. The natural resources of the Kagera river basin face increasing pressure as a result of population growth, intensification of agriculture and livestock activities and unsustainable land management practices.
A farm in the Kagera River basin. PHOTO: FAO
The Kagera river basin covers an area of 59,700 square kilometres, distributed between Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The basin supports some 16.5 million people, the majority in rural areas and depending directly on farming, herding and fishing activities. Most of the inhabitants are very poor and unable to invest in improved resources management.
Refugee movements in recent decades have further increased pressures on resources in the basin, raising actual and potential conflicts between interest groups and across countries.
Strengthening local institutions is key to ensuring the involvement of smallholder farmers in payments for environmental service (PES) deals. PRESA worked with Nature Harness Initiatives (NAHI) in Uganda to prepare local stakeholders for participation in carbon PES along River Wambabya in the Albertine Rift, and watershed PES at the Rushebeya-Kanyabaha wetland.
A wetland in Uganda. PHOTO: NAHI
The work involved cataloguing the potential sellers, intermediaries and private-sector buyers of environmental services in the two landscapes. Awareness creation was conducted among potential sellers at community level. These included existing groups and networks of land owners, forest owners, people engaged in forest and wetland-based enterprises, parish wetland management committees and other users of forest and wetland resources.
The potential buyers included Kisiizi Hospital Power Company (at Rushebeya-Kanyabaha) and British American Tobacco and McLeod Russel Uganda( at Wambabya). Dialogue on PES was initiated among the potential buyers and government institutions. At the Wambabya riverine forest system, the two private sector companies have contributed greatly to ecosystem conservation in their areas of operation.
Who said carbon cannot pay for water? PRESA facilitated the expansion of Ecotrust’s work on Trees for Global benefits to enable farmers growing trees in the River Mobuku watershed in Uganda to access carbon payments. Mobuku River watershed lies at the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains.
A woodlot of 'Prunus Africana' trees in the Ecotrust Uganda project area. PHOTO: Ecotrust Uganda
Before a carbon project is implemented, a lot of work goes into linking communities with potential carbon buyers. This article is a summary of activities by Ecotrust Uganda and PRESA, in getting farmers into carbon offsetting.
Several strategies were employed including home visits by Ecotrust field staff and meetings with local leaders in the areas targeted for the carbon project. Community-based officers from Ecotrust disseminated information about the project to local leaders and farmers and invited them for training meetings.
There were two induction meetings for farmers from the Ruboni Community Development Organisation in Bugoye sub-country and Mobuku Integrated Farmers’ Association in Maliba sub-county. Farmers from the two organizations were sensitized on the procedures of getting involved in carbon offsets. These meetings are critical because project requirements are explained to all those interested in joining the carbon project.
Posted in africa, biodiversity, carbon, getting_started, Guinea, Kenya, PRESA-outputs, Tanzania, Uganda, water on Jun 8th, 2011 Comments Off
PRESA, 2011. This publication describes PRESA’s work in seven sites across Africa since 2008.
By Gerald Kairu
Communities engaged in the Trees for Global Benefits carbon project in western Uganda are getting additional income from the medicinal values of a particular tree, but the lucrative benefits are putting the tree in danger, as criminals reap where others have planted.
A debarked Prunus africana tree. PHOTO: Gerald Kairu
The carbon project, implemented by the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), uses voluntary carbon standards to link carbon producers (who are farmers and landowners growing trees) with global buyers of carbon credits.
Farmers participating in the Trees for Global Benefits projects are selected using criteria specified in Plan Vivo standards. Plan Vivo is a system for developing community-based payments for environmental service projects and programmes.
If successfully selected, the farmer signs a carbon sales contract and gets paid. However, farmers must draw up a land management plan making use of approved tree species such as Maesopsis eminii, Cordia sp., Khaya sp.and Prunus africana.
The carbon absorption rate (sequestration) of these species is known, making it easier to calculate how much carbon has been sequestered after a given time frame.
Nature Harness Initiatives (NAHI) is a Ugandan civil society organisation, working with PRESA to enhance ecosystem conservation while improving people’s income.
NAHI hopes to reverse wetland degradation by facilitating collaborative management plans, and developing one or more PES (payment for ecosystem services) schemes to generate financial resources to help pay for wetland management activities.
PES in Uganda is a relatively new practice, and NAHI has much to learn about how the concepts and principles can be applied.
NAHI and PRESA are conducting research that will lead to workable rewards for environmental service agreements in two landscapes: the Rushebeya-Kanyabaha wetland and the Wambabya riverine forests. Both lie in western Uganda, within the Albertine Rift associate site of the PRESA project.
By Gerald Kairu
Over 40 farmers in western Uganda are benefiting from a bee-keeping project supported by PRESA and its partner organization. The project enhanced the production and marketing of ecolabelled honey (eco-honey) as an incentive for greater community involvement in managing the River Mobuku watershed.
A training session on bee keeping at Kasese, Uganda. PHOTO: ECOTRUST Uganda
Eco-honey is certified honey that is harvested using environmentally friendly methods. With an ‘Eco’ label, the honey gets better access to global markets and relatively higher prices compared to non-ecolabelled honey.
The Ugandan eco-honey project titled, “Market-based incentives to promote conservation of natural resources in the Albertine Rift, Uganda,” was implemented by the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST) in Kasese district within the Albertine Rift.
ECOTRUST is a PRESA partner organization working in this area of great ecological value.
Posted in Events, News, Policy, Uganda on Jan 12th, 2011 No Comments »
At a conference in Jinja, Uganda, held in October 2010, the Network for Environmental Services in Africa (NESA) was formed to share experiences from payments for environmental service (PES) projects in Africa.
A section of conference participants are seen in this group photo.
Members include researchers, environmentalists and representatives of relevant government institutions.
NESA is currently hosted at the Victoria Institute for Research on Environment and Development (VIRED), which is located in Kisumu, Kenya.
The Jinja conference, which ran from 20th to 22nd October 2010, attracted 78 participants from across Africa and the rest of the world. It was aimed at addressing the challenges faced in embracing payments for environmental services in Africa.
Proceedings of the conference will be compiled into a book to be disseminated in 2011.
The Albertine Rift in western Uganda rises from an altitude of 700 metres to 5,000 metres at the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains. It is a nature paradise of trees, plants, animals, birds and fish.
A tree nursery in Uganda. PHOTO: V. Meadu.
Population increase, and the resultant demand for agricultural land and timber, necessitates ensuring that ecological resources are not exploited to depletion. Rewarding communities for environmental services is one way of doing this as it creates incentives for conservation.
However, the development of reward mechanisms requires a thorough understanding of the ecosystem services in question, potential buyers, intermediaries and suppliers, institutional arrangements and the policy environment.
In western Uganda, PRESA has partnered with two local organizations: Ecotrust Uganda and Nature Harness Initiatives (NAHI). Both are helping communities adopt sustainable land use practices and benefit from stronger links to markets for ecosystem services.