The rubber tree is native to the Amazon rainforest, but rubber plantations have spread across every tropical forest region. These plantations are increasingly large-scale, intensively-managed and have even-aged trees. The rubber is used for industrial purposes, such as the production of car tires. In some regions, small-scale rubber plantations are part of peasant farming. In the Amazon region, rubber continues to be extracted from trees that grow in the forest.

British firms not only controlled 80 per cent of the established ‘logging lands’ in Thailand, but they also influenced the establishment of the Royal Forest Department, which came to have total power over the nation’s forests. Massive land grabs and various colonial laws made half the country’s territory into a colony of the central state.
Colonial and anti-colonial movements’ have deeply shaped the patterns and impacts of concessions in SE Asia. In some cases, communities have experienced dispossession through land grabs dressed as concessions. In others, concessions are part of a re-concentration of land holding. Either way, the concession model fits well with ideologies of modernisation.

How are forest crimes defined? In Thailand, forest-dependant communities, rather than the government and companies carrying out large-scale deforestation, became scapegoats for this destruction. (Available in Thai).

The industrial production of natural rubber has always been synonymous with destruction and exploitation. About 70% is used to manufacture tires. As the use of cars, trucks and airplanes increases, the use of rubber will also increase. And this does not come without controversy.