Struggles for the Forests

A group of riparian Batwa people, exasperated by the extreme poverty following their eviction in order to establish the Kahuzi Biega National Park, decided to return to their ancestral forests. Since then, they regularly clash with the “eco-guards,” sometimes leading to the loss of human lives.

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).

A key tactic for the giant pulp producer, Suzano S.A, to keep expanding its industrial eucalyptus plantations in Brazil, is to market itself as a company that practices “conservation” and “restoration.” This conceals its disastrous track record related to forest and forest-dwelling populations.

The inter-dependencies in and among communities with their life spaces and practices sheds light to the conservation practices of forest communities. And within these interdependencies lie the stories of women.

The indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé people had to endure brutal repression to avoid the onslaught on their territories. They managed to get the Government to ban mining and hydroelectric dams in their territory. However, another intense onslaught came from conservationist NGOs.

Martin Khor (1951-2020), Third World Network's Chairman and former Director, passed away on 1 April 2020 in his home in Penang, Malaysia. Martin was one of the founders of the WRM.

The community of Antsotso produced this video showing the impact of a biodiversity offset project of the mining corporation Rio Tinto /QMM on their livelihoods and their subsistence food production.

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).

What are the experiences of communities living inside or adjacent to the plantation areas of companies with “zero deforestation” pledges? How can these companies continue expanding without deforesting in densely forested countries?

Plantation companies often argue that local populations are destroying the forests, particularly where people depend on firewood and/or charcoal for their energy needs. Thus, they argue, industrial plantations can “sustainably” provide this wood. But this is simply not true.