“Trapped in the Buffer Zone: Uganda Forest Communities Cast Aside in the Fight Against Climate Change”
…For decades, hundreds of people provided for themselves from these gardens and other resources obtained from the forest, including firewood, grazing land for their animals and sources of freshwater. But when the National Forestry Authority leased the land to Norway-based Busoga Forest Company in 1996 to plant pine and eucalyptus trees for timber export, these people, who had no official land titles, were forced from their gardens.
…Busoga Forest Company’s tree plantation is one of 6 large-scale forestry projects in Uganda with deals taking up a total of 47,339 hectares…At the same time, many of the companies say they are fighting climate change through reforesting degraded lands and selling ‘carbon credits’ to polluting companies abroad. Investing in commercial forests is a national strategy to increase revenue and wood-based products to the Ugandan people, according to Galima from the NFA. But while such projects are intended to inject economy and development into poor, low-resource areas, in many places, including Mayuge, their presence has often ended up depriving the most marginalized communities of their livelihoods without adequate efforts to replace them. People already living on the margins of society end up further ignored, and with even less…
According to John Ferguson, the BFC Managing Director, the company employs about 1,000 Ugandans monthly, including 160 permanent staff, about 700 resin trappers, and about 300 contract workers in the field. According to Ferguson of BFC, the company’s lease agreement with the government stipulates that the company cannot allow any agroforestry, building of houses, grazing or other activity within its land because it is a national forest reserve.
Source: Business-Human Rights