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Eucalyptus Monoculture in Eunapolis, Bahia, Brazil


Veracel Celulose is a joint venture formed by Brazilian company Fibria (50%) and the Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso. Since 2005, this company produces about 1 million tons of bleached wood pulp per year at its plant in the municipality of Eunapolis, Bahia.

This factory production is for export. Industrial workers and communities located in areas where the company operates has denounced irregularities in the production, environmental management, in the environmental licensing or violations of labor laws.

Local social movements claim that the company sponsors election campaigns of politicians of various parties to ensure support for this production. For example, in a report published in 2008, the Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul da Bahia (CEPEDES) denounced that the companys support to the electoral campaign of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2002 was related to a loan of more than 1 billion reais (nearly 500 million dollars) granted by Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES, a State-owned bank) to company in December 2003.

In August 31, 2006, various entities related to the Rede Brasileira de Justia Ambiental (RBJA) released note in which denounced that the company was causing rural exodus, unemployment and increased of the urban periphery in cities near to Eunpolis.

The company was also accused of planting eucalyptus trees in the lands of the Indians Pataxo in Monte Pascoal. According to Frente de Resistencia e Luta Pataxo, Veracel would be coopting the indigenous leaders for allowing this plantation. At least 1700 hectares of eucalyptus trees were planted in those areas. The Indians claim that the company is deforesting their land and contaminating the soil and water with pesticides.

Environmental NGOS, such the Friends of the Earth, disapproved a company initiative named Forest Dialogue, so consider this initiative as a way of pressing local environmental institutions. The report of CEPEDES, previously cited, also claims that many environmental NGOS are being co-opted by the company through this initiative. NGOs would work as enabling agencies to obtain green seals.

The municipality of Santa Cruz Cabralia was the only municipality in the region to prevent planting eucalyptus in your territory. This culture was considered irregular by the strategic plan previously approved in the city. Councillors in the city have accused the company of causing social chaos in the their city with the expulsion of small farmers from their traditional land.

In 2007, a public campaign kept by local groups argued that the company could not receive the Green Seal awarded by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Several Brazilian and international entities took part in the campaign.

In 2008, the company announced that it will invest 1 billion dollars to expand the productive plant in Eunapolis, increasing its production capacity to 1.4 million tons of pulp per year. In the same year, the Ministerio Publico Federal (MPF) ordered to the company to pay a fine of 10 million dollars for environmental damage done between 1990 and 1993. The Federal Court also considered null the environmental licensing done by Conselho Estadual de Protecao Ambiental (Cepram), which authorized the planting of eucalyptus without conducting environmental impact studies. The same decision ordered the company to cut 96 thousand hectares of eucalyptus planted in Santa Cruz Cabralia, Belmonte, Porto Seguro and Eunapolis, forcing it to restore the native vegetation.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Eucalyptus Monoculture in Eunapolis, Bahia, Brazil
State or province:Bahia
Location of conflict:Eunapolis, Belmonte, Santa Cruz Cabralia e Porto Seguro
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Eucalyptus

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Project area:96000
Level of Investment:1000000000
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:2005
Company names or state enterprises:Veracel from Brazil
Stora Enso from Sweden
Fibria from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Fundacao Nacional do Indio - FUNAI, Ministerio Publico Federal - MPF, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis - IBAMA, Centro de Recursos Ambientais - CRA, Instituto de Meio Ambiente - IMA, Conselho Estadual de Proteo Ambiental - CEPRAM
International and Finance InstitutionsBanco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul da Bahia - CEPEDES, Rede Brasileira de Justia Ambiental - RBJA, Frente de Resistencia e Luta Pataxo, Friends of the Earth - FOE

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Genetic contamination, Global warming, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Potential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is still running and the environmental and social impacts have increased.

Sources & Materials

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

Violacoes socioambientais promovidas pela Veracel Celulose, propriedade da pela Stora Enzo e a Aracruz Celulose WRM, set. 2008. Disponivel em:

Acesso em: 17 nov. 2008.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

ADITAL. Monocultura do eucalipto causa danos ao extremo sul da Bahia. Disponivel em:

AGENCIA CARTA MAIOR. Armas judiciais contra fabricas de papel no Brasil. Disponivel em:

ECODEBATE. Veracel Celulose e condenada na justica por desmatar Mata Atlantica (20/08/2009). Disponivel em:

Disponivel em:

Acesso em: 17 nov.2008.

Acesso em: 17 nov.2008 .

Acesso em: 17 nov. 2008.

MINISTERIO PUBLICO FEDERAL. MPF/BA: Veracel E condenada a pagar R$ 20 milhoes por desmatamento.

Acesso em: 17 nov.2008.

Meta information

Contributor:Diogo Rocha
Last update08/04/2014