PRESS RELEASE/VICTORY: Important Ugandan Protected Area Saved from "Deforestation Biofuels", 2nd Major Rainforest Spared in a Week
Uganda's government has scrapped plans to convert thousands of hectares of rainforest into a palm oil plantation. The government said it could not license Kenyan company Bidco to plant palm for biofuels in what is now a protected forest on Bugala island in Lake Victoria. Days earlier, the Ugandan government suspended for further study a separate proposal to give 7,000 ha of mainland Mabira forest reserve to a sugar grower. The Mabira victory was huge as the bulldozers were ready, and it is expected further study will kill the project.
These two major rainforest conservation victories were made possible by an unprecedented national protest campaign to protect Uganda's dwindling forest reserves, buttressed by international protest facilitated exclusively by Ecological Internet. Over the past year President Yoweri Museveni has faced intense opposition, including peaceful protests sadly turned violent, over proposals to give private firms the right to bulldoze protected forests to create plantations. Ecological Internet alone generated some 1.8 million protest emails to the Ugandan parliament and Forest Authority.
Uganda has long faced a deforestation crisis, with forests covering 20 percent of Uganda 40 years ago, but now just seven percent. Deforestation has been directly responsible for declining levels of waters in Lake Victoria and River Nile resulting in a scarcity of drinking water and reduction in hydroelectric energy production. Some one-third of Mabira Forest Reserve, about 7,000 hectares of an area which has been protected since 1932, was to lose its protection for sugar cane production by the Mehta Group. Mabira is a watershed for two rivers contributing to the Nile, an ecological stabiliser between two industrial towns and it protects Lake Victoria.
Dr. Barry, Ecological Internet's President notes, "The Ugandan people have set important precedents regarding the sanctity of protected area status, the importance of standing rainforest ecosystems for national development, and perhaps set the stage for a large and effective home grown African environmental movement. They are to be congratulated, as are those thousands of global citizens that stood with them against unnecessary further diminishment of Uganda's rainforest legacy."
Dr. Glen Barry
Ecological Internet, Inc.
P.O. Box 433
Denmark, WI 54208
+1 920 776 1075 phone
Ecological Internet's projects include:
EcoEarth.Info -- http://www.EcoEarth.Info/
Climate Ark -- http://www.climateark.org/
Forests.org -- http://forests.org/
Water Conserve -- http://www.waterconserve.org/
Rainforest Portal -- http://www.rainforestportal.org/
Ocean Conserve -- http://www.oceanconserve.org/
My.EcoEarth.Info -- http://My.EcoEarth.info/