Pricing Nature

There is a long history of putting a price on parts of nature. The centuries-old corporate rush for prized timber and land has led to the loss of forests on a large scale and the violation of communities’ rights. So-called "ecosystem services," such as the role that forests play in ecosystems, are a new way of monetizing and trading in nature. The result is greater dispossession of forest-dependent communities and ongoing corporate destruction of community territories.

This bulletin focuses on a central cause of large-scale deforestation and dispossession of forest peoples: The imposition of land concessions as an instrument to separate, divide and map land according to economic and political interests. In consequence, the editorial alerts on the grabbing of vast amounts of hectares for Carbon Concessions.

The UN Land-Grabbing Summit in Glasgow made it once again clear that these spaces will never advance the already existing solutions to the climate crisis.

Suzano, the world’s largest producer of eucalyptus pulp, is seeking to intensify its operations with so-called ‘green bonds’ as a way to finance its expansion projects.

For the world’s richest men, the environmental crisis has finally arrived. From fleeing into outer space or fantasylands to science-fiction solutions, capitalists desperately seek fossil-fuelled business as usual to continue.

Polluting corporations tell stories about reaching “Net-Zero” emissions while planning to continue, or even increase, destruction and exploitation. Offsets are at the centre of these stories. Of late, offsetting is also being championed by the financial industry.

The development narrative continues to be revived despite its role in driving the current crisis and the millions of livelihoods it has destroyed through displacement and dispossession.

Despite the various tactics that try to hide the underlying harm and violence behind large scale tree plantations, each year, communities and movements raise up on September 21st to give visibility to their struggles and to denounce the detrimental impacts tree plantations have on their lives and territories.

Funds from the Compensatory Afforestation scheme have been allocated for Covid-19 relief measures. The scheme has funded plantations that invade community land and has led to illegal evictions where “Protected Areas” have been declared. This has not stopped during the lockdown.

The environmental, climatic and social crisis has been a reality for many for a long time. Yet, rather than acknowledging their contribution to this crisis, corporations and allies use the pandemic to amplify their push to expand Protected Areas, presenting it as a "global solution".

The conservation industry’s plan to double the size of Protected Areas (PAs) is supposed to be the solution to biodiversity loss, climate change, and now even COVID-19! Although PAs will solve none of these, if the conservation industry keeps repeating a big lie, people will eventually come to believe it.

Back in 2004, conservation NGOs and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry pioneered with a model called Ecosystem Restoration Concessions. This article takes a closer look at this model in the context of new and old threats to forests, and the global push for “forest restoration”. (Available in Indonesian).

Oil multinational Shell claims that it is possible that consumers drive “carbon neutral”, simply by paying extra for offsetting their emissions - planting trees or investing in existing forest areas elsewhere. But what is happening in those areas elsewhere? (Available in Indonesian).