Sub-Saharan Africa

Ma'di (Zoka Rainforest, Uganda)

Help stop illegal logging in the only rainforest of northern Uganda
The Backstory
In Northern Uganda the Zoka rainforest, the only rainforest left in that region, is currently under siege by illegal extraction and government complacency.
Why it matters
Many organizations and peoples have fought for Zoka several times but were silenced. The organization Friends of Zoka has had members arrested and harassed for protesting against the illegal logging and human rights abuses. Local residents reported that park rangers have often attacked housing, stolen animals and uprooted crops to forcibly evict them.
The People
The Ma’di people are an ethnic group inhabiting northwestern Uganda in the Moyo and Adjumani districts, who rely on the Zoka Rainforest for their livelihoods. It is suspected that the loggers sexual abuse and exploit the Ma’di women and youth. In recent years, the Ma’di chiefs have denounced the destruction of Zoka Forests and called on Uganda’s National Forest Authority and the Ministry of Water and Environment and other government authorities to act.
The Friends of Zoka support them in the cause by educating the community through empowering women and teaching them how to protect their land from these loggers.
Defend the Defenders
The Moyo District chairman Anyama and several journalists found an endangered tree being logged in the forest. When they tried to document the environmental crime and apprehend the two illegal loggers, the military, who assisted the illegal loggers, detained Anyama and his team. Recently, the founder of Friends of Zoka, William Amanzuru, after taking footage of the fallen logs, narrowly escaped arrest from the local district commissioner.
Photo of illegal deforestation in Moyo District by William Amanzuru
Making it worse
The government is facilitating the mass deforestation and charcoal burning. Everyday truckloads of logs and charcoal bags leave the forest defended by permits from local authorities and security forces. Yet, the government revenue from the illegal logging is not returned to the community, rather it often falls into the hands of corrupt administrators. The local peoples do not consent to this environmental destruction.
The data
In 1990, 24% of the Uganda was covered by forests. By 2018, the forest cover had been reduced to only 8%, demonstrating significant losses. Studies have shown if deforestation continues unobstructed, Uganda may lose its entire forest coverage by 2050. The land and forestry sector contributes to 44% of Uganda’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The decree
Photo from William Amanzuru, document from Ministry of Water and Environment
In December of 2017, the Ministry of Water and the Environment enforced the suspension of trade of the endangered trees of the Zoka forest. This should have stopped all illegal logging in the Zoka Central Forest Reserve, but the illegal cartels have continued to exploit the forest, often unopposed and sometimes even assisted by the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force. We need to do all we can to pressure the National Forest Authority (NFA) and the Ministry of Water and Environment to enforce this decree and stop these environmental crimes.
More info: how Zoka Forest Cover is Being Lost
The bottom line: We need to help Friends of Zoka save this rainforest. We can directly contact and target the authorities that can stop the cartels and the destruction of Zoka. Click the “Zoka Actions” card below to help.
How you can help
Tweet storm, email, etc. to help Ma’di community in Adjumani and Moyo districts and stop illegal logging in the Zoka rainforest

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