World Rainforest Movement

Biological Deserts

Eucalyptus, pine, acacia, gmelina, teak, oil palm plantations have become a major social and environmental problem. From a biodiversity perspective they eliminate most local plants and provide almost no food to wildlife. Some plantation species become invasive, thus encroaching on natural ecosystems. In spite of this, they continue to be promoted, particularly in the South, for the production of cheap raw material mainly for the pulp/paper and palm oil industries.

People opposing them face a number of reprisals, ranging from eviction, threats and criminalization to outright repression or even death. On the opposite side, plantation companies receive full support from governments, while plantations themselves are awarded scientific credibility by being defined by allegedly expert institutions such as the FAO as “planted forests” or “forest plantations”.

To make matters worse, even the Forest Stewardship Council –a certification scheme promoted by NGOs for the protection of forests- has already certified hundreds of plantations that should have never been certified, thus strengthening those same companies that people are struggling against.

But nothing is ever enough for corporations: not even fast growing eucalyptus. They want trees to grow yet faster, to be resistant to herbicides, to act as insecticides, to contain more cellulose, to be flowerless and seedless. They are therefore now moving into the genetic engineering of trees to adapt them to their needs.

The following articles provide evidence on the issues raised above, but constitute only a small sample of the information WRM has been documenting and disseminating for many years, mostly based on the direct experience of people impacted by plantations. The evidence is now so overwhelming that it cannot be ignored anymore. As stated in the editorial of this bulletin, we hope that the CBD will begin to take action.

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