Destruction of wood resources for development programmes in the Nuba Mountains

email from Nuba Natural Resource Working Group, forwarded by Jemera rone, HRW

3 February 2004

Dear All,

As Focal point for the Nuba Natural Resource Working Group, I would like to inform you of the alarming reports I have heard regarding the
destruction of wood resources for development programmes in the Nuba Mountains. The long term impact of careless use of these resources could well contribute to future underdevelopment and devastation of the environment. Please take this seriously: many of the areas where you are working have already been degraded by large concentrations of people having to settle on marginal lands in the foot hills and the mountain slopes, we should not be adding to the problem. It will take a long time for the vegetation to recover from this impact.

Action to be taken:

- Talk to the local authorities about which trees are important to the community so they can be protected and get advice on where wood resources
can be collected where there is a higher chance of regeneration.

- Find substitutes for timber, firewood and charcoal

- Try to avoid cutting trees and encourage planting of hedges

- Bare in mind the nutritional value of the indigenous trees to the community and the income generating benefits particularly for women. So please avoid cutting them down.

- Include tree planting as a component in your programmes, especially indigenous trees that have multiple purposes

- Try to find alternative construction materials rather than poles, or if this is unavoidable use wood preserving methods. Replacing poles eaten
by termites is a constant and unnecessary drain on wood resources)

- On the whole waste management is appalling e.g. Kauda, Lewere, proper waste management is needed if we are to maintain the natural environment and set a good example to others. (have you seen the plastic bags caught on trees and bushes?).

- Use technologies which reduce need for fuel e.g.. block presses to make bricks, fuel efficient cookers (Gas could be used by NGOs, UN etc.).
Solar to heat water for showers etc

- consider carefully the long term energy needs of your programmes, is it sustainable?

Protecting trees is easier and has more immediate benefits than trying to grow a tree from seed!

We would like to remind you that there are environmental guidelines developed for the Nuba Mountains area which are available from the Policy
Advisory Committee If you have any trouble getting a copy please contact me. If you have any questions on the environmental consequences of your programmes again please contact me and I will forward them to the appropriate technical advisor. If any agencies would like to help support the local authorities in implementing environmental protection and management in SPLM areas, please contact Neroun Philip Acting policy Advisor and myself.

Responsible use and management of environmental resources will lead to sustainable development. We are all responsible for setting good examples.

If any one has some issues or information on alternative technologies on the above please share them with us. Many thanks.
Best regards to you all