COSTA RICA, September 21st, 2010 – Today Friends of the Earth International celebrates the international day against tree plantations, a yearly event aimed at exposing that large-scale plantations cause grave problems for local people and the environment. [1]

“Friends of the Earth International groups are taking action around the globe to expose that large-scale plantations cause grave problems for local people and the environment. This year our main activities are taking place in Brazil, where tree plantations are a major concern for local people and the environment,” according to Isaac Rojas, coordinator for Friends of the Earth International´s program on Forests and Biodiversity.

“Some policy tools to address deforestation negotiated in the UN Climate Convention are particularly dangerous because they consider industrial tree plantations as a solution to the climate crisis, which is absurd,” added Rojas.

The UN mechanism known as ‘REDD’ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) is particularly dangerous, for instance because it could reward those engaged in logging and starting large scale plantations whilst ignoring countries and communities that have low deforestation rates and live sustainably.

“The main drivers of the current expansion of industrial tree plantations are big transnational forestry and cellulose corporations along with financial institutions such as the World Bank and even the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The push for tree plantations is based on false promises of job creation, sustainable development, climate change mitigation and biodiversity protection. But testimonies and case studies compiled by Friends of the Earth groups show that plantations have very severe impacts on local people and the environment alike,” said Sebastian Valdomir, coordinator for Friends of the Earth International’s program on Economic Justice and Resisting Neoliberalism.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) promotes tree plantations and labels them ‘planted forests’.

“Initiatives such as the FAO World Forest Week [October 4-8, 2010] and the “International Year of Forests” [2011] should give a voice to the tens of thousands of people affected by tree plantations around the world. Instead, they support big transnational forestry corporations and their damaging large scale plantations,” said Valdomir.

Large scale tree plantations are incompatible with the urgently needed solutions to the climate and biodiversity crisis. The solutions include:

  • Enforcing and promoting ‘community based-forest governance’ (regulations and practices used by many communities for the conservation and sustainable use of the forests with which they coexist).
  • Promoting ‘food sovereignty’ (the right of peoples to sufficient, nutritious, healthy food that is produced in an ecologically and culturally appropriate way).

Friends of the Earth International is campaigning globally to expose the impacts of large scale plantations, for instance recently exposing corporations such as Stora Enso. We are also exposing the damages caused by palm oil plantations in Asia and agrofuels plantations in Africa.



[1] September 21st was declared ‘the international day against tree plantations’ several years ago by various social movements. Every year actions are taken throughout the world to expose the problems of large scale tree plantations.

case study testimonies about the impacts of plantations

From Colombia

From Argentina (the password is RECOMA2010)

From Mexico



Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International Forest and Biodiversity Program coordinator – Email: or Tel: + 506 8338 32 03 (Costa Rica mobile)

Sebastián Valdomir, Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice Program coordinator – Email: or Tel: +598 98 965 135 (Uruguay mobile)