Ecological Internet: Protect Uganda’s Mabira Rainforest Preserve from Sugar Production for Biofuel

July 17th, 2007 5:01 pm by Kelly Garbato

Via Ecological Internet / The Rainforest Portal:

Protect Uganda’s Mabira Rainforest Preserve from Sugar Production for Biofuel

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni continues to pursue legally dubious plans to destroy large areas of the Mabira Forest Reserve, Uganda’s most important intact and protected rainforest, to produce sugar for biofuels. Some one-third of the reserve, about 7,000 hectares of an area which has been protected since 1932, will lose its protection for sugar cane production by the Mehta Group of India’s “Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited” (Scoul). Earlier indications had been that the project was to be reviewed and cancelled, illustrating once again that no rainforest is protected for long. […]

Continued destruction of Uganda’s surviving forests will have further grave ecological consequences — threatening ecotourism revenues, rare species, and causing soil erosion and water pollution. Local people are critically dependent upon remaining forests for firewood and building houses. The forest absorbs pollution in an industrial area, sinking millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, and helps maintain central Uganda’s wet climate. Their removal would bring drier weather and hurt crop yields. Mabira is a watershed for two rivers contributing to the Nile, an ecological stabilizer between two major industrial towns and it protects Lake Victoria. According to the Uganda Tourism Board, eco-tourism generated some $300 million for Uganda last year.

What is so exciting is that this cyber-protest is in support of one of Africa’s first grassroots modern ecological protest campaigns – with local peoples organizing boycotts against Scoul sugar company, setting up cyber-petitions and text messaging via cell phones to organize protests. A dramatic discussion is being held in Ugandan society and in the media regarding the legitimacy of giving away forest reserves to private business interests. Efforts to save Mabira rainforest are a spontaneous, home-grown rainforest conservation protest that deserves the international community’s continued support.

Click here to learn more and take action.



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