Struggles for the Forests

We invite you to reflect with an activist who explores resistance processes and the challenges they face, based on her experience with struggles in Brazil. In this reflection, we also invite you to join the collective resistance from your own contexts and spaces of organization. The fight continues and the fight is one!
The Informal Alliance Against the Expansion of Industrial Oil Palm Plantations in West and Central Africa released a declaration to keep breaking the silence of the many abuses around industrial plantations and to reaffirm their strong commitment to resist their expansion in the defence of their territories and lives.
In the northern Peruvian Amazon, indigenous communities affected by contamination from oil exploitation are also prevented from accessing clean water. One hundred communities and their federations have been waging a unified, constant and coordinated fight for eleven years to defend their territories and rivers.
In Brazil, oil palm plantations are expanding rapidly, mainly in the Amazonian state of Pará. BBF (Brasil BioFuels), the largest oil palm company in Brazil, stands accused of environmental crimes and violence against indigenous, quilombola and peasant communities such as Virgílio Serrão Sacramento, a community linked to the Small Farmers’ Movement (MPA).
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.
A conversation with the president of the Volta Miúda Quilombola Association and of the Southernmost part of Bahia Quilombola Cooperative revealed how Suzano, the world’s largest paper and cellulose corporation, continues to operate with serious violations and illegalities. Communities keep fighting to reclaim their lands back.
The ‘conservation’ model in India continues to enclose forests and evict communities in a deliberate attempt to undermine and scuttle the Forest Rights Act (FRA) - a landmark legislation that strengthens the authority of communities over their forests. Meanwhile, companies are allowed to destroy forests, even inside the conservation areas.
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.
What a certain historiography terms civilizational expansion or capital’s expansion has in fact been the invasion and de-territorialization of peoples and communities using much epistemic and territorial violence. Concessions have been granted in areas that are not demographic voids, a colonial concept that ignores the fact that they have been populated for millennia.
This text comes out of conversations with women from the Ribeira River Valley who have devoted themselves to opposing the concession of one of the region’s most important parks. Their struggle is fundamental, and part of diverse resistances against the privatizing trend of creating ‘territories without people’. They remind us that their territory has been and is rooted in their stories, voices and resistance.

The Balik People will bear the impacts of the plans to build a New Capital City mega-project in Borneo, Indonesia. Government officials and business elites in the country are certainly among those who will enjoy the benefits.
Available in Bahasa Indonesia.

This article highlights the voices of Justiça Ambiental! in Mozambique and the African ecofeminist alliance WoMIN.