Carbon colonialism and the new land grab: Plantation forestry in Uganda and its livelihood impact
There has been a global increase in private sector investments towards activities plantations for clean fuel or climate change mitigation that are justified on the basis of their environmentally beneficial outcomes. This paper examines the discourses and mechanisms that enable the greater privatization of land and other resources using green development as a justification.
Research goals & methods
The authors study a plantation forestry program for carbon offsets, forest products and renewable energy in north eastern Uganda to understand the interconnections between privatization and green development. They collected data in June and July 2012 and 2013 in the Bukaleba and Kachung Central Forest Reserves through interviews and focus group discussions.
Conclusions & takeaways
The paper identifies three major trends, first, a widespread acceptance of privatization as a solution to Uganda’s environmental challenges, second, some concerns about the negative impacts of privatization including wealth and resource capture by private entities, and third, reduced livelihood opportunities through restrictions on accessing plantation areas. According to the authors, public access to public lands was easier in the years following independence. However, several policies implemented from the early 2000s onwards ushered in a shift towards the privatization of public and forest lands. They suggest that the government has re-designated forest reserves as degraded land to allow licenses to be issued to global investors. This, in turn, leads to identifying local communities who used the forest land as encroachers on the land that has been awarded to private investors, with negative consequences on livelihoods and income generation.
Carbon colonialism and the new land grab: Plantation forestry in Uganda and its livelihood impacts. Journal of Rural Studies. 2014;36:13 - 21. doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.06.002..
- School of Social Science, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia