Welsh support for tree planting project in Uganda

image captionOne million trees will be planted in Uganda in an area the size of Wales

One million trees will be planted in Uganda to sustain an area of tropical forest in Africa the size of Wales.

The tree planting is part of a climate change project between the Welsh and Ugandan governments.

The One Million Trees initiative will help five coffee co-operatives grow shade trees to protect crops and establish tree nurseries.

The project is funded by the assembly government and Cardiff environmental charity The Waterloo Foundation.

John Griffiths AM, visiting Mbale, said this was one of the first "on the ground" schemes of this kind in the town on Mbale in Uganda.

Community link

"We are working on four small scale forest projects with local community groups to grow and plant over 1,000,000 trees to re-store the tree cover in an area now vulnerable to landslides," he added.

The Welsh connection with Mbale started as a community link between Pontypridd in the south Wales Valleys, and the Ugandan town.

Pontypridd High School has raised sums to support their partner school in Mbale for the past six years and teacher Jayne Brencher has visited Mbale along with pupils to plant trees.

She said: "We have been busy planting trees at home and now we also have four of our own pupils visiting Bubutu School in Mbale to help Ugandan students plant trees as part of an agro-forestry project.

"Four students from Mbale will visit Pontypridd in July".

Forest Loss

"Changes in Uganda's climate are putting a tremendous strain on resources such as land, soils, timber and water. As a result the loss of forest is happening at an alarming rate here in Mbale."

Hannah Scrase, manager of the Size of Wales project which oversees the One Million Trees initiative, said she hoped other organisations and community groups would get involved.

The Size of Wales project encourages people to do conservation work and make donations towards their running.

"We hope the One Million Trees initiative in Uganda will inspire other organisations, companies and community groups to get on board and join our nation's challenge to protect an area of rainforest equivalent to the size of Wales.

"Individuals, companies, schools and community groups across Wales will not only help protect a significant area of rainforest but forge lasting links with forest communities in Africa".

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