Forest peoples’ knowledge and practices of the use and management of controlled fire in forests have been identified within climate change policies as the cause of forest fires. Nevertheless, fire is critical for ensuring the food and cultural sovereignty of forest peoples.
In 1989, there was a war in the valley of Lila, Portugal. Hundreds of people gathered to destroy 200 hectares of eucalyptus, fearing that the trees would rob them of their water and bring fire.
An article by Transparency International shows how the political establishment of Portugal—which should be managing the forest, territorial planning, and firefighting and prevention measures—is held hostage to influential business interests. According to the article, this explains why so many people die and so much area is destroyed by fires year after year.
This past September 21, to mark the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations, the Portuguese environmental organizations Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (League for the Protection of Nature) and Quercus launched a petition against a proposed new regime for tree planting and replanting presented by the government.