Monitoring the charcoal production of an area under a sustainable licensing system in Masindi district, Uganda

by Stijn Cleemput, Caroline Moreau, Cornelia Sepp

Issue: 51

Journal section: General Article
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Received: Wed 11 of Aug., 2010


Large parts of Kampala’s population are using charcoal for heating and cooking. One of the main charcoal supply areas is situated in the Masindi, Luwero, Nakasongola triangle; more specifically in the Masindi district (National Biomass Study (NBS) 2002; NEMA, 2001). This region supplies the main urban centres of Kampala with 250,000 tonnes of charcoal per annum (Energy for Sustainable Development, 1994 data). The region’s natural resources are quickly depleting due to increasing population pressures and action is urgently needed in order to protect and restore these remaining woodfuel stocks.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development of Uganda, supported by the GTZ-Energy Advisory Project, introduced a pilot taxation system in Masindi district, commonly known as the Sustainable Charcoal Production and Licensing System (SCPLS). In this system, taxes are collected according to the quantities of charcoal produced and transported. There are no production limits on private land. Tax collection is based on the biomass resources at parish level, so detailed information on biomass stocks and yield is required to determine the levies. Biomass regeneration (distribution of seedlings, tree nurseries . . .) will be financed from these revenues, and it is expected that this will be an effective means to sustain the biomass reserves.

This article describes the findings from the biomass standing stock estimation study. Although the inventory of the available woody biomass in Masindi came from the former National Biomass Study (now part of the National Forest Authority of Uganda) this article is not part of a project evaluation. The objective is to present a recent monitoring study for the forested lands of Masindi district (Uganda) to contribute to its further development.

In this article, the term ‘biomass’ is limited to the total living woody natural vegetation found above ground. This includes stems, branches and twigs. The term biomass refers to their air-dry mass, measured after drying the wood for up to 15 days, until the mass is constant (NBS, 2002).

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