Struggles Against Tree Monocultures

Corporate profit drives land grabs to install industrial tree monocultures. Where industrial plantations take root, communities' territories and lives are violently invaded, their forests destroyed and their water polluted. When communities resist, companies tend to respond with aggression. Despite this extreme violence, communities around the world are resisting, organizing and joining forces to defend their territories.

This bulletin highlights materials and analysis related to communities’ struggles against industrial tree plantations. It also pays homage to communities in DRC struggling to get their lands back from an oil palm company since colonial times. Their courageous struggle showcases the multiple layers of oppression and violations that result from the plantation model.
Many oil palm plantations’ concessions in West and Central Africa were built on lands stolen from communities during colonial occupations. This is the case in the DRC, where food company Unilever began its palm oil empire. Today, these plantations are still sites of on-going poverty and violence. It is time to end the colonial model of concessions and return the land to its original owners.

Communities in West and Central Africa are facing the impacts of industrial oil palm plantations. With the false promise of bringing ‘development’, corporations, backed up with government support, have been granted millions of hectares of land for this expansion.

European development banks have financed a plantation company in DRC that is built on injustice and violence dating back to a colonial-era land grab. When the company went bankrupt in 2020, the banks chose to uphold the plantation model.