International Symposium on Plantations

On the occasion of the International Day of Struggle Against Tree Plantations, September 21st, an International Symposium On Plantations took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the Conventions Centre of the Municipality Building.

The issues presented were:

• “Investment agreements outreach”, by Sebastián Valdomir.Member of REDES / Friends of the Earth Uruguay and coordinator of the “Economic Justice” programme of Friends of the Earth International. The programme tracks the influence of multinational corporations and international institutions in the policies and practices affecting the rights of local communities.
See presentation (only in Spanish) at

• “Industrial plantations expansion over the grasslands, the South African experience”, by Philip Owen. Founder of the South African organization Geasphere, with extensive experience in research on the impacts of timber plantations on grasslands and water.
See presentation at

• “Plantations, communities and territory, the case of Brazil”, Winfridus Overbeek. International Coordinator of the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) and member of the “Alert Against the Green Desert Network” of Brazil. In his work as an activist has witnessed the impact of plantations on indigenous peoples and local communities in the states of Bahia and Espirito Santo.
See presentation (only in Spanish) at

• “Tree plantations and the carbon market”, Jutta Kill. Member of the European organization FERN, in charge of the project “SinksWatch” that keeps track of the impacts of carbon sequestration projects on ecosystems, on people who live there as well as on the climate.
See presentation at

The Symposium ended with a tribute to Ricardo Carrere, died on August 16, 2011. Ricardo has been a prominent environmentalist botn in the national and international level. Founder of the Uruguayan Guayubira Group, he was a lader in the fight against the spread of industrial tree plantations and in the defense of native forest in our country.

Organized by:
Guayubira Group

With the support of:
Redes-Amigos de la Tierra Uruguay / Rel-UITA / CIEDUR / Rapal Uruguay /  WRM / Red Uruguaya de ONGs Ambientalistas

About the Symposium

The symposium took place under the International Day of Action Against Monoculture Tree Plantations celebrations. The expansion of large scale monoculture tree plantations has led so many social and environmental impacts in the different Southern countries where they are implemented that has raised the idea of establishing an International Day (*) to highlight the issue worldwide.

All over the world, millions of hectares of productive land are being rapidly converted into green deserts presented under the guise of “forests”. Local communities are displaced to give way to endless rows of identical trees – eucalyptus, pine, palm oil, etc – that displace from the area most other forms of life.

In Uruguay more than one million hectares of productive land is already occupied by eucalyptus and pine monocultures, disguised under the label of “planted forests”. The land used for traditional productions (farms, horticulture and cattle-raising) are increasingly being purchased by large forest companies, mostly foreign, and local ecosystems are replaced by “endless rows of identical trees.” Farmland, which is crucial for the food sovereignty of local communities, is converted to monoculture tree plantations producing raw materials for export.

The panelists, with an extensive experience on the impacts of large scale monoculture tree plantations, provided more elements for a social debate at the national level. They addressed key issues related to plantations such as impacts on grassland and on water, the land grabbing by foreign companies and the impacts on local communities. Relatively recently promoted issues in our country were also addressed such as the promotion of plantations as carbon sinks and the implications of the investment agreements signed between forest companies and governments.

(*) ¿Why this date?

In 2004, after an initiative of the “Alert Against Green Desert Network” of Brazil, which has a long history of resistance to tree plantations, was chosen September 21 as a significant date to commemorate at the international level the fighting against monoculture tree plantations. Others followed the idea and the date was immediately adopted by many communities and organizations that resist the plantations in their own countries and internationally. Since then, each year more and more people add to this date organizing diferent activities contributing to raise awareness about environmental and social impacts of tree plantations.

For further information on 21st of September please visit


About Grupo Guayubira

El grupo "Guayubira", fue creado en mayo de 1997, para nuclear a personas y organizaciones preocupadas por la conservación del monte indígena y por los impactos socioeconómicos y ambientales del actual modelo de desarrollo forestal impulsado desde el gobierno. El grupo aspira a tener incidencia a nivel nacional y local para implementar medidas que ayuden a la conservación del monte indígena y a modificar el actual modelo insustentable de desarrollo forestal basado en los monocultivos de árboles a gran escala.
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