Reports and Articles
What could be wrong about planting trees? The new push for more industrial tree plantations in the Global South
23 March 2020
In this booklet, the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) aims to alert community groups and activists about the corporate push for a new round of industrial tree plantation expansion. It also reveals why planting trees on such a large scale can be extremely detrimental, in spite of seductive marketing campaigns claiming that these plantations will or could be a “solution” to the climate crisis.
What could be wrong about planting trees? Haven’t communities around the world been planting a diversity of trees since the dawn of human civilization?
Yes they have. But in more recent times, companies have also been planting trees, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the way they do so is very different from that of communities. They cover huge areas with trees from one single species, creating vast industrial or monoculture plantations devoid of biodiversity.
Today, these same companies plan to start a new round of massive expansion. Exploiting growing public awareness and concern about climate change, they argue that monoculture plantations are an excellent option to help solve some of the world’s most urgent problems:loss of forests, global heating and dependence on fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas).
The corporate argument is that plantations will encourage “forest restoration”, can serve as a natural “solution” to the climate emergency, or help foster a “bio-economy”. The simple truth, however, is that the industries involved want more plantations simply to increase their profit margins. And other industries and polluters are also using such deceptive arguments, in order to hide their contributions to an ever-worsening social and environmental planetary crisis.