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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Plantation companies often argue that local populations are destroying the forests, particularly where people depend on firewood and/or charcoal for their energy needs. Thus, they argue, industrial plantations can “sustainably” provide this wood. But this is simply not true.
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.