Eucalyptus monoculture and common lands, Portugal


Portugal is the country with the largest area of planted eucalyptus in Europe and ranks 5th worldwide. This is the result of an active strategy of promotion of Eucalyptus plantations, made through a combination of forest policies and market instruments, resulting in the largest uninterrupted and monospecific Eucalyptus area in Europe (+800 000 ha, ¼ of the Portuguese forest area and 9% of continental territory).

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Basic Data
NameEucalyptus monoculture and common lands, Portugal
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsGeneral context: Portugal has the largest uninterrupted and monospecific Eucalyptus area in Europe (+800,000 ha, ¼ of the Portuguese forest area and 9% of continental territory).

170,000,000 dollars (approximately) was invested by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to afforest 150,000 ha - 90,000 ha by the Official Services (DGF) and 60,000 ha by Portucel between 1981 and 1987.
Level of Investment (in USD) 170,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationUnknown
Start Date11/01/1989
Company Names or State EnterprisesPortucel Soporcel Group from Portugal - one of the largest beneficiaries of state business grants and incentives due to its strategic interest for both Portugal's exportation and local eucalyptus economies.
Relevant government actorsDireção Geral da Floresta (DGF) State Forest Services
International and Financial InstitutionsInternational Bank For Reconstruction And Development (IBRD) - invest money in afforestation.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersPlataforma pela floresta (Platform for the forest)

Federação Nacional dos Baldios (National federation of common lands)

Quercus (National Association for Nature Conservation)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Global warming, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Food insecurity (crop damage), Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Although the intensification of eucalyptus monoculture is advancing throughout the years, it is possible to observe a consistent struggle for forest preservation and right to access the commons lands not only by farmers, but by civil society, environmental groups and other social movements as well.
Sources and Materials

Decree Law no. 68/93

Decree Law no. 96/2013

Decree Law no. 72/2014


Serra, R., Alavez-Vargas, M., Skulska, I., and Garcia Barrios, R. (2013). Academic-community collaborations: what kind of hybrid institutions for knowledge production and decisions on collective management?. 4th EMES Conference on Social Enterprise Research. Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra; National Autonomous University of Mexico. Coimbra.

Baptista, Gualter, B. (2010). Bridging environmental conflicts with social metabolism. Forestry expansion and socioeconomic change. PhD Thesis. Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia. Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Lisboa.
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BAPTISTA, Gualter, B. Bridging environmental conflicts with social metabolism. Florestry expansion and socioeconomic change. Universidade de Lisboa: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Dissertação de Mestrado, Lisboa, Nov. 2010.
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COELHO, Ricardo S. Arborisae as vossas terras: um estudo sobre o valor das florestas portuguesas. Faculdade de Economia do Porto: Economia do Meio Ambiente, Portugal,
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MELO, Cristina J. A questão fácil dos baldios: não lhes tocar. In: AMORIM, Inês; BARCA, Stefania (org.). Propriedade e usos comunitários e sustentabilidade das economias camponesas. Olhares historiográficos. Cescontextos, n. 1, Mar. 2013, p. 21-82. Atas do I Encontro Internacional de História Ambiental Lusófona. CES-Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra, Mar. 2013.
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NETO, Margarida S. Propriedade, usos comunitários e sustentabilidade das comunidades camponesas Olhares historiográficos. Cescontextos, n. 1, Mar. 2013, p. 134-143. Atas do I Encontro Internacional de História Ambiental Lusófona. CES-Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra, Mar. 2013
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Tavares, Alexandre ; Monteiro, Mário; Alavez-Vargas, Mayrén; Pato, R.L; Serra, Rita (2014), "Land use change and forest routing in a rural context: The relevance of the community-based management and planning framework. ", Applied Geography, 52, 153–171.
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Plataform for the Forest
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News Article. (2009). Correio da Manhã. Eucalipto ocupa 26% da floresta portuguesa. (Eucalyptus occupies 26% of the Portuguese forest). Correio da Manhã, Portugal
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News Article. (2014). Salvador, João Miguel. Plataform for the Forest wants to revoke the "eucalyptus law". Visão Verde
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Common Lands National Federation (BALADI)
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SERRA, R. (cord.) et al. SCRAM – Projeto: Crises, gestão de risco e novos arranjos sócio-ecológicos para florestas, Uma perspetiva dos estudos sobre Ciência e Tecnologia. CES-Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra, 2008.
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Media Links

Environmental groups accuse the government of supporting the destruction of Portuguese forest with new law.
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Eucalyptus, Vila de Castanheira de Pêra-Portugal
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We don't eat paper!
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Paper industry campaign
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Águas, Penamacor protests
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Environmentalists against massive eucalyptus plantation in the Portuguese forest
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MAIS DE 5000 AGRICULTORES EM PROTESTO CONTRA NOVAS IMPOSIÇÕES FISCAIS E "ROUBO DOS BALDIOS", Jornalista: Salomé Pinto; Imagem: Jorge Coutinho, 3 abril 2014.
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Aprovação da lei dos Baldios leva agricultores a temer pela profissão
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Nova lei e Manifestação de Protesto em Lisboa (2014)
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Vila Real, Comissão de Baldios dá exemplo na ocupação de beneficiários RSI
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V Congreso Internacional de Agroecología y Agricultura Ecológica - Baldios em Portugal: desafios e potencialidades para as instituições e para as comunidades em tempos de crise. El lema de esta edición del Congreso es el de "Propuestas agroecológicas al industrialismo: recursos compartidos y respuestas colectivas". Dentro de las actividades del evento podremos conocer experiencias e investigaciones de interés a nivel gallego, estatal e internacional. Investigadora: Rita Serra (CES/UC), TV Universidade de Vigo.
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Other Documents

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Other CommentsThe main GPS coordinate is from center Portugal.


Valpaços 41.614082 , -7.376963

Aboboreira 41.224581, -8.058879

Mértola 37.657414, -7.663875

Common users' sttrugles related to this subject:

Parque Nacional Peneda Gerês 41.838844, -8.241559 and Lousã 40. 7, 21.18
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ContributorRita Serra, Stefania Barca and Teresa Meira
Last update09/03/2015