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   1.   Short title.

   2.   Purposes of the Act.

   3.   Interpretation.


   4.   Classification of forests.

   5.   Responsibility for forest reserves.

Central forest reserves.

   6.   Declaration of central forest reserve.

   7.   Procedure for declaring a central forest reserve.

   8.   Amendment of order declaring central forest reserve.

Local forest reserves.

   9.   Declaration of local forest reserve.

   10.   Procedure for declaring a local forest reserve.

   11.   Amendment of order declaring local forest reserve.

   12.   Transfer of management of local forest reserve to the Authority.

Management of forest reserves.

   13.   Management of forest reserves.

   14.   Prohibited activities in forest reserves.

   15.   Collaborative forest management.

   16.   Reclassification of forest reserves.

Community forests.

   17.   Declaration of community forest.

   18.   Amendment of order declaring a community forest.

   19.   Management of community forest.

   20.   Transfer of management of community forest to local government.

Private forests.

   21.   Private natural forests.

   22.   Private forest plantations.

   23.   Contractual or other arrangements.

   24.   Register of rights and interests.

   25.   Forests owned or managed by cultural or traditional institutions.

   26.   Assistance in forestry management.

   27.   Ownership of trees on private land.

Management plans.

   28.   Management plan.


   29.   Sovereignty over forest biological resources.

   30.   Reserved species.

   31.   Protected trees.

   32.   Prohibited activities.

   33.   Domestic use of forest produce.

   34.   Prevention of damage.

   35.   Precaution against fire.

   36.   Pests and diseases.

   37.   Inventory of forests.

   38.   Environmental impact assessment.


   39.   Tree planting and growing.

   40.   Tree Fund.


   41.   Licences.

   42.   Application for licence.

   43.   Unlicenced activities.


   44.   Timber export licences.

   45.   Restriction on movement of forest produce.


   46.   Responsibilities of Minister.

   47.   Mandate of responsible Ministry in relation to local governments.

   48.   District Forestry Office.

   49.   National Forest Plan.

   50.   Honorary Forestry Officers.

   51.   Authorised persons.


   52.   Establishment of the Authority.

   53.   Official seal of the Authority.

   54.   Functions of the Authority.

   55.   Board of Directors.

   56.   Disqualification from appointment as member.

   57.   Tenure of office of Board members.

   58.   Filling of vacancies of the Board.

   59.   Remuneration of Board members.

   60.   Functions of the Board.

   61.   Meetings of the Board.

   62.   Committees of the Board.

   63.   Forestry Committees.

   64.   Functions of Forestry Committees.

Staff of Authority.

   65.   Executive Director.

   66.   Functions of Executive Director.

   67.   Tenure of office of Executive Director.

   68.   Other officers and staff of the Authority.

   69.   Protection of members and employees.


   70.   Funds of the Authority.

   71.   Duty to operate on sound financial principles.

   72.   Power to open and operate bank accounts.

   73.   Borrowing powers.

   74.   Investment of surplus funds.

   75.   Estimates.

   76.   Financial year of the Authority.

   77.   Accounts.

   78.   Audit.

   79.   Annual and other reports.

   80.   Service of documents.


   81.   General offences.

   82.   Counterfeiting and similar offences.

   83.   Penalties.

   84.   Power of court to confiscate and order forfeiture.

   85.   Power of court to order compensation.

   86.   Cancellation of licences, etc.

   87.   Further powers of court.

   88.   Powers of authorised person.

   89.   Obstruction of authorised person.

   90.   Penalties under statutory orders.


   91.   Access to information.

   92.   Regulations.

   93.   Amendment of Schedules.

   94.   Transfer of assets and liabilities.

   95.   Employees of Forestry Department.

   96.   Repeal and savings.

      First Schedule   Currency point.

      Second Schedule   Meetings of the Board.


Commencement: 8 August, 2003.

   An Act to provide for the conservation, sustainable management and development of forests for the benefit of the people of Uganda; to provide for the declaration of forest reserves for purposes of protection and production of forests and forest produce; to provide for the sustainable use of forest resources and the enhancement of the productive capacity of forests; to provide for the promotion of tree planting; to consolidate the law relating to the forest sector and trade in forest produce; to establish a National Forestry Authority; to repeal the Forests Act and the Timber (Export) Act and for related matters.


1.   Short title.

   This Act may be cited as the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act, 2003.

2.   Purposes of the Act.

The purposes of this Act are—

   (a)   to create an integrated forest sector that will facilitate the achievement of sustainable increases in economic, social and environmental benefits from forests and trees by all the people of Uganda;

   (b)   to guide and cause the people of Uganda to plant trees;

   (c)   to ensure that forests and trees are conserved and managed in a manner that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the rights of future generations by safeguarding forest biological diversity and the environmental benefits that accrue from forests and trees;

   (d)   to promote the improvement of livelihoods through strategies and actions that contribute to poverty eradication;

   (e)   to encourage public participation in the management and conservation of forests and trees;

   (f)   to facilitate greater public awareness of the cultural, economic and social benefits of conserving and increasing sustainable forest cover;

   (g)   to promote the decentralisation and devolution of functions, powers and services within the forest sector; and

   (h)   to ensure that environmental benefits, costs and values are reflected in strategies and activities relating to forestry.

3.   Interpretation.

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   "authorised person" means a forestry officer, an Honorary Forestry Officer, a Wildlife Protection Officer, police officer, or other person designated by the Minister under section 51 to be an authorised person for the purposes of this Act;

   "Authority" means the National Forestry Authority established by section 52;

   "Board" means the Board of Directors of the Authority established by section 55;

   "central forest reserve" means an area declared to be a central forest reserve under section 6;

   "collaborative forest management" means a mutually beneficial arrangement in which a forest user group and a responsible body share roles, responsibilities and benefits in a forest reserve or part of it;

   "community forest" means an area declared to be a community forest under section 17;

   "currency point" means the value assigned to a currency point in the First schedule;

   "endangered species" means a tree species in danger of extinction and which is unlikely to survive if detrimental or adverse factors prevail, or if remedial action is not taken immediately;

   "environmental impact assessment" means a systematic examination conducted in accordance with the National Environment Statute, to determine whether or not a project will have any adverse impact on the environment;

   "Executive Director" means the Executive Director of the Authority appointed under section 65, or a person authorised to act on his or her behalf;

   "firewood" includes parts of a tree made up into bundles or loads or cut up in the manner in which it is usual to cut wood for burning and all refuse wood generally, but does not include sound straight timber, logs or poles of any kind;

   "forest" means an area of land containing a vegetation association that is predominantly composed of trees of any size, and includes—

   (a)   a forest classified under this Act;

   (b)   a natural forest, woodland or plantation;

   (c)   the forest produce in a forest; and

   (d)   the forest ecosystem;

   "forest ecosystem" means any natural or seminatural formation of vegetation whose dominant element is trees, with closed or partially closed canopy, together with the biotic and abiotic environment;

   "forest management" means the practical application of scientific, economic, and social forestry principles to the administration of forests for specific forestry objectives;

   "forest produce" means anything which occurs or grows in a forest and includes—

   (a)   trees, timber, firewood, poles, slabs, branch wood, wattle, roots, withes, sawdust, charcoal, bark, fibres, resins, gum, wood oil, latex, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds;

   (b)   honey, mushrooms, grass, orchids, climbers, creepers, wood ash, litter, soil;

   (c)   stone, gravel, clay or sand which occurs naturally in a forest and which is not a mineral within the meaning of the Mining Act; and

   (d)   a living organism or product or derivative of a living organism;

   "forestry purposes" means activities relating to the protection, growing or harvesting of forest produce or to the provision of environmental services as described in the management plan for the respective forest reserve;

   "forest reserve" means an area declared to be a central or local forest reserve under this Act;

   "forestry" means the management and conservation of forests and trees, and includes the management of land that does not have trees growing on it, but which forms part of an area reserved for or dedicated to forestry;

   "forest user group" means a group comprising members of a local community registered in accordance with regulations;

   "Fund" means the Tree Fund established by section 40;

   "graded timber" means timber graded and marked or passed and marked in accordance with regulations;

   "Honorary Forestry Officer" means a person appointed by the Minister under section 50;

   "inventory" means a survey carried out to determine, in a given area, the constitution, extent and condition of a forest or area reserved for forestry;

   "joint management forest reserve" means a forest reserve whose management is shared among two or more lead agencies;

   "lead agency" means a person, Ministry, Government department, local government council or administrative unit established under the Local Governments Act, a parastatal, agency or public officer in which or whom a written law vests functions related to the management of trees, forests, forest ecosystems, forest reserves or forest produce;

   "licence" means a licence issued under this Act;

   "livestock" includes cattle, horses, donkeys, mules, pigs, sheep, goats, camels and other domesticated animals, fowl and their young, and in the case of fowl, their eggs;

   "local community" includes households and persons living in a defined geographical area, in close proximity to a forest, and identified by common history, common culture or common residence, and may include all the residents of a village which shares a boundary with a forest;

   "local council" means local government councils and administrative unit councils established under the Local Governments Act, 1997;

   "local forest reserve" means an area declared to be a local forest reserve under section 9;

   "local government" means a local council established under section 4(2),(3), (4) and (5) of the Local Governments Act, 1997;

   "management plan" means a management plan for a forest reserve, community forest or private forest prepared in accordance with section 28;

   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for forestry;

   "National Environment Management Authority" means the National Environment Management Authority established by the National Environment Statute, 1995;

   "National Forest Plan" has the meaning assigned to it in section 49;

   "non-wood forest produce" means all forest produce that is not trees, timber, firewood or any product directly derived from them, or a mineral under the Mining Act;

   "prescribed" means prescribed by or under this Act;

   "private forest" means a natural forest or a plantation forest or area dedicated to forestry, registered under section 21 or 22;

   "protected tree" means a tree or group of trees protected under section 31;

   "rare species" means a tree species with a small national population but that is currently not endangered or vulnerable, although it is at risk;

   "regulations" means regulations made under section 92;

   "reserved species" means a tree species declared to be reserved under section 30;

   "responsible body" means a body designated to manage, maintain and control a forest reserve or a community forest under this Act and in the case of a private forest, the owner or person in charge of the forest;

   "site of special scientific interest" means an area within a forest reserve set aside as a result of—

   (a)   special attributes relating to its technical management; or

   (b)   the presence in it of rare, endangered or vulnerable species, or high biological diversity;

   "specimen" includes a wild plant or tree and its derivatives, alive or dead, whether or not native to Uganda, and any readily recognisable part of that plant or tree;

   "strict nature reserve" means an area within a forest reserve set aside for species and habitat protection and in which only research, education and monitoring are permitted;

   "sustainable management or utilisation" means present use of a resource, which does not compromise the right to use the same resource by future generations;

   "timber" includes a tree or any part of a tree which has fallen or been felled, and all wood, whether or not sawn, split, hewn or otherwise cut up or fashioned, but does not include firewood;

   "tree" includes palm, bamboo, cane, shrub, bush, climber, seedling, sapling and regrowth of all kinds, and any part of them;

   "vulnerable species" means a tree species that may or is likely to become endangered if adverse or detrimental factors are not eliminated.


4.   Classification of forests.

   Forests in Uganda are classified as—

   (a)   central forest reserves;

   (b)   local forest reserves;

   (c)   community forests;

   (d)   private forests; and

   (e)   forests forming part of a wildlife conservation area declared under theUganda Wildlife Statute, 1996.

5.   Responsibility for forest reserves.

   (1) The Government or a local government shall hold in trust for the people and protect forest reserves for ecological, forestry and tourism purposes for the common good of the citizens of Uganda.

   (2) In furtherance of the trust obligations under subsection (1), and in furtherance of the right to a clean and healthy environment, any person or responsible body may bring an action against a person—

   (a)   whose actions or omissions have had or are likely to have a significant impact on a forest; or

   (b)   for the protection of a forest.

Central forest reserves.

6.   Declaration of central forest reserve.

   (1) The Minister may, on the advice of the Board—

   (a)   after consultation with the local council and the local community in whose area the proposed forest reserve is to be located; and

   (b)   with the approval of Parliament signified by its resolution,

by statutory order, declare an area to be a central forest reserve.

   (2) The Minister, in making a statutory order under subsection (1), shall declare a central forest reserve to be, in whole or in part—

   (a)   a site of special scientific interest for the purpose of—

      (i)   protecting nature and scenic areas of national or international importance;

      (ii)   enhancing biological genetic resources in an undisturbed, dynamic and evolutionary state;

      (iii)   maintaining animal and plant indicator species; or

      (iv)   preserving rare, endangered or vulnerable species, or high biological diversity;

   (b)   a strict nature reserve for the purpose of—

      (i)   protecting streams, rivers, lakes, lakeshores, riverbanks or wetlands;

      (ii)   soil, slope and environment protection; or

      (iii)   protecting the ecosystem;

   (c)   a joint management forest reserve;

   (d)   a recreation forest for purposes of ecotourism; or

   (e)   any other area, for a purpose prescribed in the order.

7.   Procedure for declaring a central forest reserve.

   (1) The Minister shall, before making an order under section 6—

   (a)   give simultaneous notice of the proposed declaration in the Gazette, in an appropriate print media, and in any other media that is likely to draw the matter to the attention of all interested persons;

   (b)   consult with the local community through public meetings and other means that will offer the local community an effective opportunity to express their views concerning the declaration of the reserve;

   (c)   ensure that an environmental impact assessment is carried out; and

   (d)   where the land on which the proposed forest reserve is to be situated is private land or land in which any person has an interest, acquire the land in accordance with the Constitution, the Land Acquisition Act and the Land Act.

   (2) The Minister shall, in a notice issued under subsection (1)(a)—

   (a)   identify the location of the land on which the proposed central forest reserve is to be situated, and the approximate area of the land;

   (b)   include a summary of the proposed management plan for the forest reserve; and

   (c)   invite written comments and representations on the proposed declaration to be made within 90 days after the date of publication of the notice in the Gazette.

8.   Amendment of order declaring central forest reserve.

   (1) The Minister shall, before amending an order declaring a central forest reserve, comply with the procedure for declaring a central forest reserve prescribed by section 7.

   (2) Where an amendment to an order declaring a central reserve forest reserve will result—

   (a)   in the reduction of part of the central forest reserve, an area at least equivalent in size to the reduction shall be simultaneously declared a central forest reserve; or

   (b)   in the removal of the whole forest reserve, an area at least equivalent in size to the abolished reserve shall be simultaneously declared a central forest reserve.

   (3) Before a new area is declared a central forest reserve in terms of subsection (2), the environmental impact assessment must find the area to be of equivalent or greater environmental value.

   (4) An order declaring a central forest reserve, shall be revoked only where—

   (a)   soil, slope, or other watershed conditions in the area will not be irreversibly damaged;

   (b)   an environmental impact assessment carried out in respect of the proposed new land use of the area, finds that the same area can be adequately reforested within five years after harvest or clearance of the land

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