FAO Forest Definition

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) definition of forests reduces forests to a bunch of trees. Consequently, it considers monoculture tree plantations to be forests, when in fact, these plantations cause deforestation. This definition also ignores human communities and other living species, and the complex web of interaction among them. Because it is widely used by governments, companies and international forest-related processes, many organizations have been calling on the FAO to change its misleading definition of ‘forests.’

The Singapore-based OLAM company has secured access to 500 thousand hectares of land in Gabon to set up large-scale oil palm plantations, a country with 85% of forest coverage. How can OLAM then claim to follow a “zero deforestation” commitment?

Women affected by OLAM’s oil palm plantations, during a meeting in the village of Fera, in Gabon, decided to send a letter to FAO denouncing the impacts they are suffering.