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
NameEucalyptus Plantations Aracruz / Fibria Celulose, Brazil
ProvinceEspirito Santo
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)Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThis project produces 2.4 million tons of bleached pulp annually out of which 97% is for export.

The company consumes about 250,000 cubic meters of water per day.

The plantations have taken over the coffee plantations territories, which previously provided 200,000 jobs, when the eucalyptus only can provide 4,800 jobs.
Project Area (in hectares)320000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1998
Company Names or State EnterprisesLorentzen Group from Norway
Safra Group from Brazil
Votorantim Group from Brazil
Aracruz Celulose / Fibria Celulose from Brazil
FuturaGene from Brazil
Relevant government actorsIBAMA, 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 Financial 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 organisations and other supportersAlert 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
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation 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-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Violent targeting of activists
Fostering a culture of peace
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesTo 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 as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

Convention ILO 169


Brasil: policia federal invade aldeas Tupiniquim y Guarani en tierras recobradas a las plantaciones de Aracruz Celulose. Movimiento por los bosques. 2006
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Certificando lo incertificable. Certificacion del FSC de plantaciones de arboles en Tailandia y Brasil. Movimiento por los bosques 2003.
[click to view]

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

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

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

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

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

Manifiesto contra el desierto verde. Red Alerta contra el desierto verde. 2004.
[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]

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

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

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

Article in Nature, Brazil considers transgenic trees, Genetically modified eucalyptus could be a global test case. Heidi Ledford. 27 August 2014
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El modelo forestal-celulosico en cuestion: los impactos en el Cono Sur. Tribunal de los Pueblos. Viena 2006.
[click to view]

Where the Trees are a desert, stories from the ground, FASE-ES, Carbon Trade Watch & Transnational Institute, 2003
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Report, 2002: Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights Violations in Eucalyptus Monoculture: Aracruz Cellulose and the State of Espírito Santo
[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]


Instituto Humanitas Unisinos
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World Rainforest Movement
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GIT Forestry Consulting's Blog
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Diga o governo brasileiro para rejeitar as árvores trasngénicos, The campaign to stop GE trees, 04/2015
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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
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La Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad (CTNBio) de Brasil, aprobó el 9 de abril la liberación comercial de un eucalipto transgénico
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Mujeres “Sin Tierra” destruyen eucaliptos transgénicos en Brasil, 07/03/2015
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Brasil: Outrage over killing of local man by Fibria Celulose’s guards, WRT, 29/04/2010
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Taking On Big Cellulose: Brazilian Indigenous Communities Reclaim Their Land, I. Kenfield
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Indians fight for the land invaded by Aracruz Celulose, May 1996
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Green Neocolonialism, Afro-Brazilian Rebellion In Brazil, 29/12/2014
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La Via Campesina women occupy a farm in South Brazil, 08/03/2006
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Brazil: Aracruz sows violence and destruction in Espirito Santo, World Rainforest Movement, 30/12/2010
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Brazil: Highway is blocked against expansion of eucalyptus plantations, 04/03/2004
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'Green desert' monoculture forests spreading in Africa and South America, I. Acosta, The Guardian, 26/09/2011
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Other Documents

Eucalyptus plantation owned by the Fibria Celulose S. A., Brazil
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Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update30/12/2015