In 1996, Uganda’s National Forest Authority awarded a 50 year licence covering an area of land just over 9,000 hectares to a Norwegian company called Green Resources. Twenty years later, local communities are still feeling the impacts of the company’s industrial tree plantations.
Green Resources is a Norwegian company that claims to be “Africa’s largest forestation company.” The company has established a total of 45,000 hectares of industrial plantations in Africa. It also generates carbon credits from its plantations.
A German company called Global Woods is planting more than 8,000 hectares of pine plantations in the Kikonda Forest Reserve, Uganda. The company claims that its monoculture plantations produce “sustainable timber”. But the project is controversial. Farmers had to move to make way for the plantations, and have an ever smaller area to grow their food.
Green Resources is a Norwegian company with plantations in Africa. According to the company, its plantation operations follow, “high international practice for sustainable forest management, ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] responsibilities and carbon sequestration”.
“Carbon forestry is privatizing, commodifying and financializing the world’s forests, recasting relations between state and market forest landscapes,” says Jesse Ribot, University of Illinois in a review of a new book.
Yesterday, REDD-Monitor wrote about the impact of Green Resources’ plantations on local communities in Uganda. The post was based on a new report by the Oakland Institute, “The Darker Side of Green: Plantation Forestry and Carbon Violence in Uganda”.
“In order to be both effective and equitable, REDD+ will require large areas of land with clear tenure arrangements. Yet many developing countries suffer from conflicts over land ownership and continue to exclude local communities from land use decisions. How will REDD+ impact peace and security in these countries?”
A report released yesterday by Oxfam International documents how more than 22,000 people in Uganda were evicted to make way for a carbon offset tree plantation established by a London-based firm called New Forests Company. While this is not a REDD project, it provides an early warning of how “standards” and “safeguards” can be willfully ignored.
Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, recently announced that he would allow the destruction of 7,100 hectares of the Mabira Forest to make way for sugarcane plantations. If REDD is to mean anything in Uganda, it has to provide some sort of mechanism for preventing this sort of destruction. So far, there is no sign that this is the case.