Save the Mabira Forest in Uganda
The government of Uganda is about to give away more than 7000 hectares (17000 acres) of the Mabira rainforest to the Sugar Corporation of Uganda which plans to cut down the trees and establish a sugarcane plantation.
This grant of free land would increase erosion, diminish fresh water supplies, destroy a cooling micro-climate and destroy habitats for hundreds of endangered species. It would also violate legal protections as stated in Ugandan law and international treaties.
Handing over the forest would also betray the will of the Ugandan people. Barely four years ago environmental groups - including Friends of the Earth Uganda - staged a campaign that culminated in a demonstration on the capital's streets and other towns to protest the unpopular government decision of giving away the Mabira forest to a foreign investor, also for a sugarcane plantation.
A number of lives were lost in the demonstration that saw the government imprison and charge its leaders with serious crimes. A judge dismissed those criminal charges in 2010 as baseless and the government said it would abandon its plan.
However, in August 2011, the government revived its decision citing sugar scarcities and stated that the Mabira Forest Reserve is the only land in Uganda suitable for a sugarcane plantation. Activists claim that hundreds of thousands of hectares of land in Uganda are available for sugar growing and that destroying a protected rainforest is reckless.
This is not the first time that the Ugandan government has ignored the rule of law to sacrifice protected forests for private gain. The systematic and unconstitutional plunder of gazetted forests is deeply disturbing and raises important legal, technical, economic, ethical and ecological concerns about how development is being guided in Uganda.
Please sign our petition to put pressure on the Ugandan government to abandon its plans to give away the Mabira Forest