Florestaminas and Replasa plantations, Brazil

Description

In the 1970ies the northern region of Minas Gerais was taken over by companies planting monoculture eucalyptus plantations for charcoal, the energy source used in the production of iron and steel in the scores of metal works located in the State. The invasion of eucalyptus trees was devastating. The companies managed to plant over one million hectares of eucalyptus, forming one of the world’s largest continuous tract of plantations of this monoculture. Two of these companies are Florestaminas and Replasa that took the lands of respectively Vereda Funda and Raíz, two geraizeiro communities. The community of Vereda Funda and Raiz got expelled in the 1970ies, when the state government of Minas Gerais rent their lands to the plantation companies. The communities were tenants, they had often no official land titles. There are other similar land conflicts in the region, about 15 at least.

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Basic Data
NameFlorestaminas and Replasa plantations, Brazil
CountryBrazil
ProvinceRio Pardo
SiteMinas Gerais
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesCharcoal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsCharcoal is energy source for pig iron production
Project Area (in hectares)240000: Florestaminas total area

21000: Replasa Plantation area
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population:hundreds of peasant families
Start Date1970
Company Names or State EnterprisesFlorestaminas from Brazil
Replasa from Brazil
Relevant government actorsState government of Minas Gerais rent lands to the companies
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAlert against the Green Desert Network; CAA-Norte de Minas, Via Campesina and local rural workers trade unions, WRM
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Landless peasants
Forms of MobilizationLand occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Meetings with authorities; seminars; letters to the government, etc.
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Development of AlternativesRecover the biome of the area (cerrado) and small-scale agriculture
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Following expiry of the contract and inspired by the struggle of the Tupiniquim and Guarani indigenous people from Espírito Santo, in 2005 the community of Vereda Funda recovered an area of 5 thousand hectares with the support of Via Campesina, CAA and local rural workers trade union.The community of Vereda Funda achieved definitive control of the area which the state of Minas Gerais and has made efforts to transfer to INCRA- a federal institution for agrarian reform – in order to set up an agro-extractivist settlement; this negotiation, also involving state authorities, continues. The community Raíz tried to do the same on its community area invades by Replase. The occupation carried out in 2009 was not sucessful yet.
Sources and Materials
Meta Information
ContributorWinnie Overbeek
Last update08/04/2014
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