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Eucalyptus Plantations Aracruz / Fibria Celulose, Brazil

The Atlantic rainforest and food growing areas were lost to eucalyptus plantations for celulose exports by Aracruz (Fibria). Local communities claim the recovery of their ancestral lands. New conflicts arise with transgenic eucalyptus.


Brazilian company Aracruz Celulose S.A, today Fibria Celulose, is the largest producer of bleached eucalyptus pulp in the world. The company owns more than 320,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantations in Espirito Santo State and has destroyed more than 50,000 hectares of Atlantic rainforest. In the north of Espirito Santo, Aracruz seized 11,000 hectares of indigenous territory, driving 8,500 families out of their homes and restricting access to food and water.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Eucalyptus Plantations Aracruz / Fibria Celulose, Brazil
State or province:Espirito Santo
Location of conflict:Vitoria
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
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Eucalyptus
Project Details and Actors
Project details

This project produces 2.4 million tons of bleached pulp annually out of which 97% is for export.

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Project area:320000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1998
Company names or state enterprises:Lorentzen Group from Norway
Safra Group from Brazil
Votorantim Group from Brazil
Aracruz Celulose / Fibria Celulose from Brazil
FuturaGene from Brazil
Relevant government actors:IBAMA, Government of Brazil, Federal Public Ministry of Espirito Santo State, Rio de Janeiro Federal Court, MInistry of Justice, Brazilian federal government's National Economic and Social Development Bank, Brazilian Biosafety Commission (CTNBio)
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Investment Bank (EIB)
Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) from Finland
Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Corporación financiera Internacional (CFI)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Alert Network against the Green Desert - Brazil, MST - Brazil, WRM, Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores (MPA) - Brazil, APOINME - Brazil, MMC - Brazil, RECOMA - Brazil, Movement of the Landless Rural Workers (MST), Federation of Organizations for Social and Educational Assistance (FASE), La Via Campesina, REBRIP - Brazil,
Terra e Direitos - Brazil
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Global warming, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (undecided)
Violent targeting of activists
Fostering a culture of peace
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:To have their land back and their territory restored from the contamination produced by the plantations. The recovery of the native rainforest is today impossible.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite the strong present opposition and in spite of the recognition of the territory as indigenous and the return of some of the seized lands, the plantations continue, as do the explotation of the land and the contamination of the territory causing the environmental impacts recorded. Genetically modified crops represent a new threat to the environment, the traditional farmed crops and humans' health.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Convention ILO 169

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Donde los arboles son desierto. FASE-ES & Carbon Trade Watch. 2003
[click to view]

Plantations campaign. Pulpwood plantations: a growing problem. Movimiento por los bosques 1999.

Plantations are not forests. Movimiento por los bosques 2003. Available/Disponible in English, Español & Portugues
[click to view]

Manifiesto contra el desierto verde. Red Alerta contra el desierto verde. 2004.
[click to view]

Certificando lo incertificable. Certificacion del FSC de plantaciones de arboles en Tailandia y Brasil. Movimiento por los bosques 2003.
[click to view]

Pulp mills. From monocultures to industrial pollution. Movimento por los bosques.
[click to view]

Aracruz Celulose and the World Cup: propaganda and deforestation. Movimiento mundial por los bosques 2006.
[click to view]

Article in Nature, Brazil considers transgenic trees, Genetically modified eucalyptus could be a global test case. Heidi Ledford. 27 August 2014
[click to view]

Carta aberta ao Governo Federal. 8 de maro 2006: 2000 mulheres ocupam o viveiro da Aracruz Celulose.
[click to view]

Tree plantations: Impacts and struggles. Movimiento por los bosques. 2011.
[click to view]

Fabricas de celulosa. Del monocultivo a la contaminacion industrial. Movimiento por los bosques.
[click to view]

El modelo forestal-celulosico en cuestion: los impactos en el Cono Sur. Tribunal de los Pueblos. Viena 2006.
[click to view]

PERMANENT PEOPLES TRIBUNAL: Hearing on Neo-liberal Politics and European Transnational Corporations In Latin America and the Caribbean, May 2006
[click to view]

Where the Trees are a desert, stories from the ground, FASE-ES, Carbon Trade Watch & Transnational Institute, 2003
[click to view]

Report, 2002: Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights Violations in Eucalyptus Monoculture: Aracruz Cellulose and the State of Espírito Santo
[click to view]

Brasil: policia federal invade aldeas Tupiniquim y Guarani en tierras recobradas a las plantaciones de Aracruz Celulose. Movimiento por los bosques. 2006
[click to view]

Plantaciones de eucalipto y produccion de celulosa. Promesas de empleo y destruccin del trabajo. El caso Aracruz Celulose en Brasil. Movimiento por los bosques 2005.
[click to view]

Instituto Humanitas Unisinos
[click to view]

World Rainforest Movement
[click to view]

Mujeres “Sin Tierra” destruyen eucaliptos transgénicos en Brasil, 07/03/2015
[click to view]

The Campaign to Stop GE Trees, Sign On to Support the call by Brazilian and Latin American groups to reject G.E. eucalyptus trees, April 2015
[click to view]

Diga o governo brasileiro para rejeitar as árvores trasngénicos, The campaign to stop GE trees, 04/2015
[click to view]

La Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad (CTNBio) de Brasil, aprobó el 9 de abril la liberación comercial de un eucalipto transgénico
[click to view]

Brasil: Outrage over killing of local man by Fibria Celulose’s guards, WRT, 29/04/2010
[click to view]

Indians fight for the land invaded by Aracruz Celulose, May 1996
[click to view]

Green Neocolonialism, Afro-Brazilian Rebellion In Brazil, 29/12/2014
[click to view]

La Via Campesina women occupy a farm in South Brazil, 08/03/2006
[click to view]

Brazil: Highway is blocked against expansion of eucalyptus plantations, 04/03/2004
[click to view]

Brazil: Aracruz sows violence and destruction in Espirito Santo, World Rainforest Movement, 30/12/2010
[click to view]

'Green desert' monoculture forests spreading in Africa and South America, I. Acosta, The Guardian, 26/09/2011
[click to view]

Taking On Big Cellulose: Brazilian Indigenous Communities Reclaim Their Land, I. Kenfield
[click to view]

GIT Forestry Consulting's Blog
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update18/08/2019
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