New Vision (Kampala)

29 November 2006

Uganda: 2,000 Petition Govt Over Mabira Forest

Kampala — OVER 2,000 global protesters have petitioned the Government to stop allocating part of Mabira forest reserve to the Sugar corporation of Lugazi (SCOUL).

The protesters from Uganda, USA, Israel and the European Union, want SCOUL to withdraw its interest in the forest.

The petition, which started three months ago when President Yoweri Museveni directed the environment ministry to study the possibility of allocating part of the reserve, is located at "savemabira@petitiontime.com."

"We do not believe that Mabira forest should be degazetted. It is part of our heritage and our children's future," said the petition.

The petition sent to The New Vision said Mabira is a tropical hardwood forest which should not be cut.

Mabira is one of the most bio-diverse forests remaining in Africa. It has also added value to the communities that inhabit and surround it.

"The value of the forest to Uganda and her people is beyond the values of the trees, but it is also a frequented tourism site for bird watching, forest walks, and other activities; it has cultural and historical values; it significantly impacts on the environment as a natural water filtration system and a natural regulator of global climate," said the petition.

A protester, Patrick byamukama based in the United States, said the consequences like the dropping water levels of Lake Victoria would hit the country harder if Mabira is destroyed.

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