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PLANTATION DEFINITION DISCUSSION

Getting to the truth about tree plantations!

The timber industry loves them almost as much as it loves money, but while this corporate sector, its shareholders and senior employees might benefit financially, for almost everything and everyone else that is affected by industrial tree plantations, the experience is negative. However, peoples’ perceptions of these negative impacts have been distorted through a global campaign to green-wash tree plantations, together with the polluting industrial products derived from them, by falsely branding them as ‘forests’ or various derivations of that word, such as ‘afforestation’, ‘reforestation, and ‘planted forests’.
A prime example of this distortion is how the “Forest Stewardship Council” (FSC), offers a certification and branding scheme to allow the timber plantation industry to claim that its products are from ‘responsibly managed forests’, when nothing could be further from the truth. Other prime culprits of this kind of mis-representation include certain UN agencies and structures such as the FAO, the UNFCCC, UNEP and the CBD, the World Bank and the IFC, together with many national governments that have fallen into the same trap.
The first step toward removing the uncertainty regarding where timber comes from must be to establish clear, unambiguous terminology, which can then be used to describe and to define any given forest or tree plantation in a logical, rational and honest way. Only when tree plantations can be properly described, and their physical characteristics and effects on people and the natural environment comprehensively identified and measured against the comparable effects of different kinds of forests, will it be possible for the costs and benefits of both to be properly understood and fairly attributed. An example of where this is urgently needed is in Indonesia, where peat forests have been deliberately drained and then burned to clear the land for Oil Palm plantations. However, Acacia plantations deliberately established for pulpwood production, have a similar desiccating effect on the peat beds, thus putting them at greater risk of being destroyed by fire.
For a good selection of relevant publications including some books and articles that are available in different languages, please visit the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) website at http://www.wrm.org.uy. Other sources of useful related information include:
The Global Forest Coalition (GFC) – http://www.global forestcoalition.org (Global)
The Timberwatch Coalition (TW) – http://www.timberwatch.org (South Africa)
Protect the Forest – http://www.skyddaskogen.se/en (Sweden)
GeaSphere – http://www.geasphere.org (South Africa)
The Woodland League – http://www.woodlandleague.org (Ireland)
Global Justice Ecology Project – http://globaljusticeecology.org  (USA)
Dogwood Alliance – http://www.dogwoodalliance.org (USA)
REDD-Monitor – http://www.redd-monitor.org (Global)
JA! Friends of the Earth Mocambique – http://www.ja4change.org (Mocambique)
Friends of the Earth Melbourne – http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au  (Australia)
NAPE, Friends of the Earth Uganda – http://www.nape.or.ug (Uganda)
Environmental Paper Network – http://environmentalpaper.org (Global)
Friends of the Earth Brasil – http://www.natbrasil.org.br (Brasil)
FERN – http://www.fern.org (EU)
BiofuelWatch – http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk (Global)
Rainforest Foundation – http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org (UK & Africa)
Rainforest Rescue – http://rainforest-rescue.org (Global)

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