Efforts Renewed to Destroy Ugandan Reserve for Sugar Biofuel
No rainforest is protected for long. And in the case of Uganda's Mabira forest reserve [search] — 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 EcoInternet 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 EcoInternet was wrong on this one and the fight continues apace.