Woody biomass is marketed as a clean energy, but it is another false solution to the climate crisis. Not only is carbon released when trees are burned; the demand for charcoal for industrial uses, and wood chips and pellets for heating or electricity generation are driving expansion of monoculture tree plantations, particularly in the global South.
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Several of Sappi’s plantations have been converted from pine to eucalyptus trees without authorization. Data obtained in over 75 years to verify timber plantations’ water use demonstrate that eucalyptus trees use 30 to 50% more water than pine trees.
This article gives an overview on the industrial tree plantation expansion threat in eastern and southern African countries, its external drivers, as well as the challenges this expansion presents to affected communities struggling to defend their land and livelihoods.
Download the publication. Also available in Swahili.