World Rainforest Movement

Mozambique: Video and Publication on the expansion of tree plantations

The government of Mozambique is in the process of expanding large-scale monocultures of alien, fast-growing tree species, mainly eucalyptus, pine and teak trees in the northern part of the country.

In November 2009, Winfridus Overbeek, member of the Alert against the Green Desert Network and Domingos Firmiano dos Santos, Afrobrazilian (quilombola) community leader of Angelim and national leader of CONAQ (Coordenação Nacional das Comunidades Quilombolas – National Coordination of Afrobrazilian Communities), made a field visit to Mozambique.

Both activists, with a long involvment in the struggle against tree monocultures in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo, exchanged experiences with the affected communities about the impacts of monoculture tree plantations.

National organizations involved in the subject – UNAC (União Nacional de Camponeses – National Peasant Union) in Mozambique, and UCA (União dos Camponeses e Associações de Lichinga – Union of Peasant and Associations of Lichinga) – received and accompanied the Brazilian delegation and organized the visits so they could have an insight of the current introduction and expansion of tree monocultures in Mozambique (see WRM Bulletin Nº 150).

As a result of the visit, two tools were produced: a video and a publication. The video “Ninguem come eucalipto. Em Moçambique também não” (No one eats Eucalyptus. Neither in Mozambique) is only available in Portuguese and can be downloaded athttp://www.wrm.org.uy/ninguem_come_eucalipto.html

The publication “The Expansion of Tree Monoculture in Niassa Province, Mozambique, and its Impacts on Peasant Communities, A field report”, by Winfridus Overbeek, makes a brief description of the introduction and expansion of large-scale tree monocultures in Mozambique and the different stages of implementation in Nampula, Zambézia, Manica and Niassa provinces.

Niassa, the largest province in Mozambique, has been targeted by the Mozambican government to orient there some of the companies and investors interested in pine and eucalyptus plantations which intend to plant several hundred thousand hectares. The publication gives a deeper insight of the situation in Niassa including the potential area of tree plantations, the investors, as well as the potential development of CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects by companies from industrialized countries in the northern hemisphere which would use tree plantations to ‘offset’ their CO2 emission at home.

The publication can be accesed athttp://www.wrm.org.uy/countries/Mozambique/book.pdf