Struggles for the Forests

There are currently 270,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in Ecuador. The resistance processes of the communities of La Chiquita, Guadualito and Barranquilla de San Javier in the region of Esmeraldas continue to generate outrage and solidarity among other communities, and internationally.

Balsa wood is an important input for windmills. Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of this wood. The invasion of millions of wind turbines in China, Europe and the US means the extraction of metals to build them, as well as the brutal felling of balsa wood trees. 

Despite the massive clearing of mangroves to make way for shrimp farms, and the oppression of fishing and gathering communities, this industry has access to certifications that not only facilitate its entry into foreign markets; they also conceal a history of violence against the peoples of the mangroves.

Most governments, NGOs and corporations are promoting more Protected Areas and conservation areas around the world. But what does conservation mean? Marlon Santi of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku explains to us what the Amazonian peoples of Ecuador consider to be conservation.

The expansion of oil palm and logging in Wimbí is a fact. And in both cases, the protagonist is the same: the land trafficker who allowed the palm company, Energy & Palma, to enter. This new cycle of dispossession threatens the culture and survival of the community.

Fires in the Amazon are occurring more frequently and with greater intensity. But who is really burning the forests?