The International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations around the world
On September 21, the International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations, organizations, networks and movements around the world celebrated the annual resistance campaign that continues to grow every year demanding to stop the expansion of monoculture tree plantations, which threaten the sovereignty of our peoples.
Here follow some activities registered by WRM.
*The Latin American Mangrove Network adhered the international day by releasing a banner showing the social and ecological importance as well as the diversity of mangrove ecosystem versus the impacts of the monoculture tree plantations. The banner can be accessed and downloaded from:http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantaciones/21_set/2012/Guatemala.html.
*The Latin American Network against Monoculture Tree Plantations released a declaration against the expansion of monocultures in Latin America, emphasizing the new driver of the expansion: the agrofuels demand -including both palm oil as well as wood- from the Global North. The declaration can be read at:http://wrm.org.uy/plantations/21_set/2012/RECOMA_Declaration.html
* Radio Mundo Real – Friends of the Earth International’s radio launched a short video called “Silent Occupation”, where the advance of tree monocultures in different parts of the world is exposed. The video also makes reference to the resistance by several communities. Watch it at http://vimeo.com/49907929
* Global Forest Coalition, Biofuelwatch, Critical Information Collective, and Global Justice Ecology Project warned against EU and US plans to expand the bio-economy aimed at replacing fossil fuels with biomass coming from trees. This would imply that the world’s remaining forests will be replaced by monoculture tree plantations, which are expected to produce more biomass than forests.
In South Africa
*GeaSphere’s activists dressed up as ‘mummies’ (using paper towel) and distributed pamphlets about the impacts of timber plantations with the message ‘paper consumption is DEATH to grasslands’. GeaSphere also presented a petition to the Global Solidarity Forest Fund (GSFF), an investment fund with northern investors which has acquired vast tracts of land in Mozambique to establish monoculture eucalyptus timber plantations. The petition, launched on September 21, 2011, gathered more than 10 000 signatures and calls on the GSFF to stop investing in monoculture tree plantations in Southern Africa, and rather to support small scale, diversified enterprises which benefit the local people and stimulate local economy. See the petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-plantations-mozambique/
*Timberwatch Coalition launched the report: “On 21st September the world must know the true costs of industrial monoculture tree plantations” that can be read athttp://www.timberwatch.org/
* The Sustainable Development Institute released the report “Uncertain Futures.
The impacts of Sime Darby on communities in Liberia” picturing the situation facing communities impacted by the expansion of Sime Darby’s oil palm plantation in western Liberia that threatens the rights of local communities, their food security, and puts their wellbeing at risk. The report can be downloaded athttp://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/21_set/2012/Liberia.html
The Consumers’ Association of Penang/ Friends of the Earth Malaysia gave a Press Conference denouncing the advent of large monoculture plantations, of mostly pulp and paper and oil palm on formerly forested areas in Sarawak which are under indigenous customary land rights claims. An open letter demands the government to stop the expansion of tree plantations. Seehttp://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/21_set/2012/Malaysia.html
* The organization CAPPA, organized in Jambi, Sumatra, a press confrerene with journalists from the AJI (Independent Journalist Alliance) on the International Day of Struggle against Tree Monocultures, with the participation of the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) and Friends of the Earth International. During the press conference they gave a broad overview of the conflicts created by tree monoculture plantations as well as the origin of this day of action and its relevance to Indonesia.
*Friends of the Earth Uruguay and World Rainforest Movement carried out a public event in which FOE/Uruguay presented a new research denouncing the role of soy and forestry corporations in the process of landgrabbing in Uruguay. WRM presented an overview of the expansion of monoculture tree plantations and the conflicts associated to it in the world, jointly produced with EJOLT, accessible athttp://www.wrm.org.uy/publications/ejolt.html
* Guayubira group issued a press release denouncing the impacts already being suffered by large-scale tree plantions to feed the pulp mills from the consortium formed by Stora-Enso and Arauco, and the Finnish UPM. It also denounces the recent plan to build another pulp mill by UPM. In Spanish at http://www.guayubira.org.uy/2012/09/
*Friends of the Earth Argentina carried out several grassroot actions – workshops, debates, videos – in different provinces of the country: Corrientes, Rosario and Buenos Aires
*The Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts (OLCA), released a statement rejecting the decree 702 as it is a continuation of decree 701, through which 50% of the 3 million hectares planted with pines and eucalyptus that have invaded the south of the country, have been subsidized for private profit. In Spanish at:http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantaciones/21_set/2012/Chile.html
*Mapuexpress, a collective of Mapuche Indigenous Peoples, also released a declaration denouncing the impacts of tree plantations on the Mapuche communities in Southern Chile.
In Spanish at: http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantaciones/21_set/2012/Chile_2.html
During a week of open public forums, parallel to an international government meeting to advance policies of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), community groups, academics, and civil society organizations gathered in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. They analyzed REDD+ which, among many concerns, considers “monocultures of African palm, jatropha, and eucalyptus to be equivalent to forests or jungles for purposes of absorbing industrial carbon emissions; therefore their cultivation is encouraged under REDD+ programs. We strongly condemn this approach, not only because industrial tree plantations are ‘green deserts’ devoid of biodiversity, but also because their demand for water and agrochemicals causes grave environmental and health problems. The economic benefits of biofuel and cellulose plantations go directly into the coffers of large multinational companies.” Seehttp://www.scribd.com/doc/106773721/Chiapas-in-REDDelion-DECLARATION-english
* A new documentary in Spanish called “Tree plantations, land and food sovereignty in the Cauca was screened by Censat Agua Viva. The video can be watched athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl4PjCZ6Rvk&feature=youtu.be
*FUNPAJ payed homage to Father José Koopmans, a leading activist against tree plantations in Brazil. They also launched the campaign against tree plantations and for a participatory economic and ecological zoning with the slogan “It is urgent to change the consumption pattern”. Further information in Portuguese at:http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantaciones/21_set/2012/Brasil.html
Three action alerts on the alarming rate of expansion of tree plantations were organized in Gabon – against the Singapore based company Olam establishing monoculture tree plantations in 300,000 hectares of land; in the Philippines – with the Higaonons and peasants in Southern Philippines struggling against land grabbing by the A Brown Company, Inc (ABCI) to establish a monoculture oil palm plantation; and in Brazil – with social organizations denouncing the FSC certification of Fibria Celulose SA monoculture tree plantations. More information athttp://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/21_set/2012/action_alerts.html