Efforts Renewed to Destroy Ugandan Reserve for Sugar Biofuel

Rainforest Portal a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.

//www.rainforestportal.org/ -- Rainforest Portal //www.rainforestportal/news/ -- Rainforest Newsfeed

July 13, 2007

OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet

No rainforest is protected for long. And in the case of Uganda's Mabira forest reserve -- a vital ecosystem near the capital -- the President has pulled a massive bait and switch. There were strong indications a couple months ago that plans to clear a large part of this protected rainforest were to be scrapped. Yet now President Yoweri Museveni is trying again with renewed vigor to push through legislation that would strip the forest of its protected status to produce sugar for biofuels. The Mabira Forest Reserve, on the north shore of Lake Victoria, is home to 300 bird species as well as rare primates, and plays a vital role in the country's ecosystem, storing carbon and regulating rainfall. Given 50% of Uganda's forests have been lost since the 1970s, and a current rate of deforestation of some 2.2 percent, it is ludicrous to think more deforestation will lead to economic gain -- au contraire, at some point ecosystems will collapse leading to even greater poverty. Earlier in the year 8,627 Ecological Internet action network participants sent some 1,833,279 protest emails asking the Forestry and parliament to intervene. This was in support of strong protest in country including a boycott of the sugar company involved. Given that this rainforest give-away violates commitments made to the World Bank, and strong parliamentarian opposition, there are two likely avenues of protest in the near future. Sadly Ecological Internet was wrong on this one and the fight continues apace. g.b.

TO COMMENT: //www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2007/07/efforts_renewed_to_destroy_uga.asp

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ACTION ALERT UPDATE

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

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

By Climate Ark and Rainforest Portal Projects of Ecological Internet, Inc.
//www.climateark.org/ & //www.rainforestportal.org/
July 14, 2007

TAKE ACTION

Let Scoul Sugar of the Indian Mehta Group know rainforests and their ecological services including water, climate and biodiversity are more important than sugar which can be grown elsewhere //www.climateark.org/alerts/send.asp?id=uganda

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... 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... Please contact the entire Mehta Group below; as well as the Ugandan parliament, ministries and embassies, and insist that plans to produce sugar as a biofuel in Mabira protected forest by Mehta Group's Scoul sugar be abandoned. Let them know it is unacceptable to clear protected ancient rainforests for sugar production to produce biofuels, and the Mehta Group will be held accountable if the project proceeds.

TAKE ACTION NOW: //www.climateark.org/alerts/send.asp?id=uganda

DISCUSS ALERT: //www.climateark.org/blog/2007/07/alert_protect_ugandas_mabira_r.asp



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