by Wally Menne with TimberWatch
- POVERTY and HUNGER of the worst kind are experienced by rural communities and indigenous peoples whose land has been degraded or taken away from them, and thus been dispossessed of their primary means of survival – their forests, fields, wildlife and water – together with the associated indigenous knowledge and cultural traditions.
- POWER and MONEY-LUST are the forces that drive the aggressive efforts of the international pulp, paper, packaging and wood-products industry to cheaply access communal or state-owned land; tribal land in indigenous territories; land designated as forest reserves, or even land in protected areas, for new tree plantations.
- GREED and IGNORANCE are what drive banks, investment funds, pension schemes, university endowment funds, even some churches, and the foreign aid agencies of Northern governments, to finance the establishment of new tree plantations on prime land in poor countries where it is claimed that “sustainable development” is required.
- DISCRIMINATION and INEQUITY are essential ingredients if such tree plantation projects are to be ‘successful’, and these take the form of low wages for dangerous work, separation of workers from their families, shockingly poor worker living conditions, inadequate worker training and safety precautions, and minimal retirement benefits.
- DECEIT and DISHONESTY in the form of blatant denial of, or disregard for, the negative social and ecological impacts of the destruction of productive farmland and biodiverse natural habitats, through their long-term conversion into alien tree plantations that degrade the soil, deplete water resources, and contribute to climate change!