2009 archive
UN Climate Conference closes without adopting 'Copenhagen accord'
Copenhagen: A disaster for the world's poorest
Danish PM tries to derail UN climate talks; Friends of the Earth suspended from the conference
Friends of the Earth suspended from UN climate talks
The angry mermaid winner is...
Africa moves to stop rich country power grab and protect kyoto targets
Statement on police tactics in Copenhagen
Five thousand people Flood Copenhagen for Climate Justice
Climate Capsule: People from around the world demand climate justice now
Public vote closes on Sunday for angry mermaid award
Obama to Receive Prize Based on Promise He Has Failed to Keep
Europe must commit to at least 40% reductions by 2020 without offsetting
Leaked Copenhagen accord text profoundly unjust
40% domestic emissions cuts in europe by 2020: feasible and affordable
Two million want climate justice in copenhagen
We can feed the planet and save the world
Rich countries scheme to ditch Kyoto targets
Friends of Earth International calls on President Obama to earn his Nobel
Angry Mermaid award to expose business lobby undermining climate action
First International Climate Justice Tribunal Started
climate talks regress
Rich Countries Try to Dodge Climate Obligations
Halt to Palm Oil Investments Welcomed
'Sustainable Palm Oil' advert false, says watchdog
Environmentalists Welcome World Bank President's Halt to Palm Oil Investments
Shell violates OECD Guidelines in the Philippines
Speechless novel Launched
European Union urged to reconsider its role in Central America
climate crisis: Politicians must find just solutions
Carbon Offsetting Exposed as Con
public warned over 'Green Soy' scam
new research reveals that shell is the world’s most carbon intensive oil company
a welcome shift in united nations views on food sovereignty
ShellGuilty Campaign Launched
photo competition winners announced
World Forests Rapidly Disappearing
Negative impacts of monoculture tree plantations on women
‘biodiversity photo competition starts today
Friends of the Earth International Calls for an End to the Violence in Gaza
You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2009 / Negative impacts of monoculture tree plantations on women

Negative impacts of monoculture tree plantations on women

March 8 - Three new case studies and a video on the impacts of monoculture tree plantations on women in Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Brazil have been released today in recognition of International Women’s Day.

The case studies and a related short video, available online at www.wrm.org.uy are jointly published by the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) and Friends of the Earth International (FoEI).

International Women’s Day is an important day for celebrating the crucial role played by women in our societies and reminding ourselves that we still have a long way to go to achieve gender justice, equality and equity in our societies.

The three new case studies carried out on three continents demonstrate that women who live near monoculture tree plantations are very negatively affected by them.


The case study from Nigeria is focused on the Iguóbazuwa Forest Reserve, a highly biologically diverse region in the southwest whose crops long supplied food for around 20,000 people. The area has undergone drastic changes since the arrival of the French transnational company Michelin in December 2007. All of the area’s natural wealth was destroyed to plant rubber trees.

A local woman described the situation like this: “Michelin came with its evil bulldozers and destroyed everything I had planted. I was crying…I was trying to stop them; they threatened to bulldoze me with their caterpillar if I didn’t allow them.”



The case study from Brazil states that tree plantations established to produce pulp for paper-making are continuously expanding, causing severe impacts on communities and the environment. Three big corporations have moved into southern Brazil to satisfy the enormous demand for paper, mostly in Western countries: Swedish-Finnish forestry giant Stora Ensa, and Brazilian-owned Aracruz and Votorantim.

In Southern Brazil women from the grassroots organization Via Campesina have been leading protests against the “green desert” development model since 2006 in order to protect food sovereignty and the rights of local communities. According to a woman interviewed in Southern Brazil, “the companies only give work to men. The few jobs they give to women are the ones that pay the least.” Even in the case of men, the companies tend to hire workers from outside the region, and this influx of strangers invariably leads to a rise in sexual harassment cases.


In Papua New Guinea, monoculture oil palm plantations are destroying the forests, biodiversity, and local communities livelihoods. Palm oil produced in Papua New Guinea is primarily exported, especially to the European Union where it is used to produce soap, cosmetics, processed foods and agrofuels.

In some Papua New Guinea communities women are no longer able to grow food crops, and they are exposed to dangerous pesticides.

“Health is a very big concern in our place right now we breathe in the chemicals... I’m pretty sure we are inhaling dangerous substances and definitely are dying every minute. Some women had babies who developed asthma when they were just one or two months old. Chemicals are killing us; we will all die sooner,” said a woman from the community of Saga.


Monoculture tree plantations are primarily geared towards meeting the high levels of consumption in Western countries. The European Union plays a key role in this, due to policies that promote plantations and that benefit, above all, the transnational corporations that export, process and market the products harvested from the plantations.

By publishing these new case studies, WRM and FoEI want to expose the unsustainability of policies promoting tree plantations that do not benefit local communities, and to highlight the crucial role of food sovereignty, collective rights and gender equality as the foundations of sustainable societies.


World Rainforest Movement
International Secretariat in Montevideo, Uruguay
Ph: + 598 2 413 29 89 / + 598 99 36 7966 (Uruguayan numbers)

Isaac Rojas

Friends of the Earth international Forest and Biodiversity Programme
Tel: +506 8338-3204 (Costa Rican mobile number)

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