Information in English

This section contains the Guayubira Group information -available in English- related to the campaign against the spread of large scale monoculture tree plantations and against the installation of polluting pulp mills linked to those plantations. The social and environmental impacts of these megaproyects are widely denounced by the Group. Further information (in Spanish) is available in our web site.

Relevant articles on plantations & pulp mills

Local people’s testimonies about the impacts of monoculture tree plantations

Different Uruguayan actors’ viewpoints

Nordic companies such as Metsa Botnia, UPM/Kymmene and Stora Enso are buying large areas of land in Uruguay and planting them with eucalyptus, as a first step for setting up pulp mills in the country. We believe it important to make the Finnish and Swedish public aware about the growing opposition in Uruguay to such investments.

For that purpose, we aim to provide you with the opinion of different local actors and their reasons for opposing plantations and pulp mills, as well as their description of the impacts of such type of development. In this way, the Nordic public will be able to learn –in spite of the companies’ claims– that many people are opposing this move of the pulp industry to Uruguay.

Videos

Mountains of Paper, Mounting Injustice – by the World Rainforest Movement – 2008.

El Impacto de la forestación en Uruguay – (only in Spanish) by REDES / Friends of the Earth Uruguay – 2007.

Historia de dos orillas – Un documental sobre las papeleras – (only in Spanish) by Emilio Cartoy Díaz.

El Papel del Sur. Frente a la industria trasnacional – (only in Spanish) by Chayar / Grupo de comunicación cooperativa – 2006.

Pulp Mills ¿A future for whom? – by Grupo Guayubira, on the installation of two pulp mills in Uruguay – 2004 / 2005.

Voices of Latin America against the Green Desert. The threat of the Eucaliptus Monocultures – (English Subtitles) – Production and Realization: Guadalupe Rodríguez & Klaus Schenck

The Green Invasion – WRM’s video about the large scale monoculture tree plantations impacts. (you can watch the video in English, Spanish or Portuguese)

Stora Enso in Brazil – (English Subtitles) – by Kerstin Edquist, Magnólia Fagundes, Frida Svensson and Helena Soderqvist IN collaboration WITH MST, UBV, Biskops Arno Folkshogskola – 2006 / 2007.

Publications

Greenwash: Critical analysis of FSC certification of industrial tree monocultures in Uruguay – by Ricardo Carrere. The aim of this report is to provide documented information and analysis to all those who are currently struggling against large-scale monoculture tree plantations and must face the additional problem posed by the fact that these same plantations are being certified by the FSC – March 2006.

Pulp Mills: From monocultures to Industrial Pollution – by WRM, selection of articles published in the monthly electronic bulletin of the World Rainforest Movement – April 2005.

Plantations are not forests – by WRM, selection of articles published in the monthly electronic bulletin of the World Rainforest Movement, addressing the issue of the impacts of large scale monoculture tree plantations – August 2003.

Plantations Campaign.
The carbon shop: planting new problems
– by Larry Lohmann, WRM, December 2000.

Plantations Campaign.
Ten replies to ten lies
– by Ricardo Carrere, WRM, August 1999.

Plantations Campaign.
Pulpwood Plantations: a growing problem
– by World Rainforest Movement, June 1999.

Tree Plantations: Impacts and Struggles – by WRM, selection of articles published in the monthly electronic bulletin of the World Rainforest Movement on the issue of industrial tree plantations, February 1999.

Pulping the South: industrial tree plantations and the world paper economy – by Ricardo Carrere & Larry Lohmann. 1996. World Rainforest Movement & Zed Books Ltd. 1996.

National Initiative for the Suspension of monoculture tree plantations – since May 2007.

The promotion of large-scale fast-growing monoculture tree plantations started in Uruguay in 1987, with forestry law Nº 15939 of December 1987. Today these plantations occupy over one million hectares of land and not only lands in the “forestry priority” category.

Throughout these years, tree plantations has encroached grasslands and aquifer replenishment areas, surrounded grazing lands, left populations in isolation and made their effects felt. From the closing down of rural schools and drying up of neighbourhood wells, making any agricultural production impossible, to the concentration of land in the hands of foreign corporations attacking national sovereignty: four hundred thousand hectares of Uruguayan territory are in the hands of four transnational corporations: ENCE (Spanish), Botnia (Finnish), Stora Enso (Swedish-Finnish) and Weyerhaeuser (US).

Opposition to this forestry model has also grown. Delegates from organizations of small farmers and other social organizations from various Departments in the country met on 14 and 15 April this year to discuss the problems generated by the advance of monoculture tree plantations.

The meeting was very fruitful as it enabled the various movements and opinions being expressed in isolation to link together and address problems jointly, identifying the negative impacts of the plantations, and coming together to request the suspension of tree plantations.

The result was the “NATIONAL INITIATIVE FOR THE SUSPENSION OF MONOCULTURE TREE PLANTATIONS”, reproduced here below:

“On 14 and 15 April 2007 in the locality of Paso Severino, Department of Florida, delegates of small farmer organizations and other social organizations from the four corners of the country, gathered together to discuss the problems arising from the development of tree plantations, have agreed that:

Considering:

– The absence of environmental and social impact assessments prior to the application of the forestry law;

– The already verified negative impacts of the plantations that have implied:

* the eviction of our rural population

* scant employment opportunities and inadequate working conditions;

* land concentration in the hands of large national and foreign companies;

* the transfer of substantial economic resources from the whole population towards the forestry sector through direct and indirect subsidies;

* depletion and pollution of water resources;

* soil degradation;

* contamination of water and soil due to the extensive use of agrochemicals;

* serious impacts on the flora, particularly on the grassland ecosystem;

* serious impacts on the fauna and appearance of pests affecting other agricultural production;

* negative impacts on the typical Uruguayan landscape.

Taking into account the above, we here present decide to constitute a national movement, open to all entities and citizens sharing the following objectives:

TO DEMAND the immediate suspension of all monoculture pine and eucalyptus plantations, with the exception of small-scale plantations for shelter, shade, firewood or inputs for the self-sufficiency of rural dwellers.

AND, simultaneously to demand:

– A serious and thorough assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of tree plantations with the widest participation of Civil Society, in particular of those most adversely affected;

– The exclusion of monoculture tree plantations in the country’s land management plans because of their negative economic, social and environmental consequences for the country;

– The revision of the present forestry legislation with the widest participation of Civil Society, in particular of those most adversely affected;

– The application of article 47 of the Constitution – which re-established the country’s sovereignty over water resource management – in particular to the forestry sector;

– The adoption of legislation preventing the concentration of land in the hands of large national and foreign companies;

– The discussion of local development strategies with the widest participation of Civil Society sectors, in particular of the most underprivileged sectors;

– The adoption of legal instruments to guarantee the improvement of rural families’ quality of life and their permanence in rural areas;

Summing up, we say:

– Yes to productive diversity and no to monoculture tree plantations;

– Yes to equitable land distribution – land for those wanting to work it – and no to its concentration in the hands of large national and foreign companies;

– Yes to the defence and preservation of natural resources and no to the destructive exploitation of the country’s rich heritage and its surrender to corporate interests;

– Yes to the welfare of all Uruguayans in harmony with nature and preservation of the planet.”

The Initiative calls on all entities and citizens sharing this platform to join it and actively participate”

About Guayubira Group

“Guayubira” is the name of a rare and beautiful native tree of northern Uruguay, known for its elastic and incorruptible wood. The Group was established in May 1997 to highlight the value of and threats to native forests as well as to oppose the plantation of alien tree monocultures. It consists of a network of volunteers across Uruguay, including teachers, doctors, academics, students, social workers, environmentalists, foresters, Non Governmental Organizations and people affected by tree plantations.

Today, only 3 per cent of the territory of Uruguay is covered by native forests, and even this small area is threatened. According to estimates, almost 25% of the country was under forest cover at the time when the Spaniards arrived in the country (Sixteenth Century). So-called “reforestation” (eucalyptus and pine tree monocultures) has resulted in some 800.000 planted during the past 18 years, resulting from government incentives (direct and indirect subsidies) to promote this activity.

Initially, Guayubira’s two main activities were focused specifically on:

* promoting the knowledge on the uses and values of our native forests and at the same time generating awareness on the threats they are suffering

* generating awareness and supporting local groups opposing plantations and suffering from their impacts.

As a result of the arrival of the pulp industry and its billion dollar projects at the turn of the century, the Group includes this new issue as a major component of its agenda because of its role in the consolidation and further expansion of monoculture pulpwood plantations.

Guayubira is one of the founding members of the “National Initiative for the Suspension of monoculture tree plantations” launched in May 2007.

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