Thousands call for a halt to the expansion of monoculture tree plantations

Posted: 21 September 2009 in 21 September

21_Sept

Thousands call for a halt to the expansion of monoculture tree plantations

Press release, 21 September 2009

In 2004, organizations struggling against the expansion of large-scale tree plantations declared 21 September as International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations. Since then, organizations throughout the world carry out actions on this date to raise awareness about this issue. This year, a group of people from several organizations have launched an international declaration calling for a halt to the further expansion of plantations. The declaration has been signed on by 8,429 people from 85 countries.

Given that these plantations are being promoted under the guise of “forests”, the declaration summarises the main reasons of concern: “Local communities are displaced to give way to endless rows of identical trees – eucalyptus, pine, oil palm, rubber, jatropha and other species – that displace most other forms of life from the area.”

Such displacement of people and nature gives way to a large number of social and environmental impacts: “Farmland, which is crucial for the food sovereignty of local communities, is converted to monoculture tree plantations producing raw materials for export. Water resources become depleted and polluted by the plantations while soils become degraded.”

Local communities suffer different forms of human rights violations, “ranging from the loss of livelihoods and displacement to repression and even cases of torture and death. While communities suffer as a whole, plantations result in differentiated gender impacts, where women are the most affected.”

In spite of all the documented evidence about plantations’ impacts, they continue being promoted by a coalition of governmental, intergovernmental and corporate actors, with the aim of putting people’s lands in the hands of “corporations operating in the pulp and paper, timber, rubber, palm oil businesses” for enabling the continuing “wasteful overconsumption of the products of these plantations by nations in the affluent North”.

The declaration highlights the fact that opposition is increasing and that “In country after country, people are standing up to oppose the expansion of tree plantations and a worldwide movement has been growing over the years, bringing together the numerous local struggles and helping to raise the voices of those who suffer from these plantations.” As a result, “the message is loud and clear: Plantations are not forests: stop the expansion of monoculture tree plantations!”

The full text of the declaration (including signatories) is available here.

For media interviews, please contact:

For interviews in English:
Lambert Okrah: lokrah@yahoo.co.uk phone: +1-514-875-7111 (Canada)
Wally Menne: wally_m@iafrica.com phone: +27 (0)82 4442083 Skype: wally.menne (South Africa)
Scot Quaranda: scot@dogwoodalliance.org phone 828.242.3596 (USA)
Ricardo Carrere: rcarrere@wrm.org.uy phone 598 99 367966 (cell phone in Uruguay)

For interviews in Spanish:
Guadalupe Rodríguez, guadalupe@regenwald.org phone: +49 (0)30- 51736879 (Germany)
Tom Kucharz agroecologia@ecologistasenaccion.org phone: +34 91 531 27 39 cellphone: +34 619 94 90 53 (Spain)
Ricardo Carrere: rcarrere@wrm.org.uy phone 598 99 367966 (cell phone in Uruguay)

For interviews in German:
Klaus Schenck, Guadalupe Rodríguez, Rettet den Regenwald, +49 (0)30 517 36879 (Germanu)

For interviews in Portuguese:
Ivonete Gonçalves de Souza, CEPEDES – Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul, + 55 73 3281 2768

For interviews in Bahasa:
Teguh Surya: teguhriau@walhi.or.id Mobile +6281371894452 (Indonesia)

For interviews in Thai or Lao:
Premrudee Daoroung: premrudee@terraper.org phone +66 81 4342334 (Mobile) and + 66 2 691 0718-20 (TERRA). (Thailand)

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