Justice in the forests: Uganda

Article, 07 April 2011

This film documents the fight to save a forest reserve from being sold.

'Forests fight back' tells the epic tale of the fierce and ultimately successful battle to save the Mabira forest reserve in Uganda from being sold off to private agribusiness.

The Mabira forest is one of the few remaining areas of protected forest left in the country. This rare resource has been at the centre of a battle between the government of Uganda and its people, a battle which goes right to the heart of Ugandan politics, and whose implications are having a profound effect on the political landscape of the country.

The film describes the story of what happened when the government announced a plan to degazette areas of the Mabira forest and sell it off to the Lugazi Sugar Company. Campaigners presented a clear argument of the economic benefits of local community forest management and the illegality of the president's decision to sell off the forest.

Ugandan civil society groups joined hands to conduct a concerted campaign to stop the Mabira giveaway, and won.

Although the Mabira forest is still standing, the threat to Uganda's forests from commercial agriculture remains, and in other areas it is proving even harder to hold back the tide.

At the heart of the situation in Uganda lies the question of governance, of who decides on the use and allocation of forest resources, and on what basis they make their decisions.

Other films in the series

Justice in the forests: MalawiJustice in the forests: Malawi


Justice in the forests: VietnamJustice in the forests: Vietnam


Justice in the forests: GhanaJustice in the forests: Ghana


These films have been produced by IIED and Dominic Elliot with the financial assistance of the European Union (EU) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The contents of these films are the responsibility of IIED and can under no circumstances by regarded as reflecting the position of the EU or DFID.


James Mayers (james.mayers@iied.org), director, IIED's Natural Resources research group

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